UK Prime Minister Theresa May delivers keynote speech to the Scottish Conservative Party conference in Glasgow
UK PRIME MINISTER Theresa May has said that her government must avoid any “unintended consequences” that could affect the integrity of a devolved UK as a result of Brexit – but failed to guarantee that Westminster would allow Scotland power over fisheries and agriculture despite Leave campaign promises.
May told the Scottish Conservative Party conference in Glasgow that no decisions currently taken by the Scottish Parliament will be removed from it as a result of the UK leaving the European Union.
In a matter of weeks, when May will officially begin the Brexit process by triggering Article 50, she reiterated her message to delegates that the UK will leave the EU as “one United Kingdom, which prospers outside the EU as one United Kingdom”.
The prime minister said: “That means achieving a deal with the EU which works for all parts of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and for the United Kingdom as a whole.
“When the UK Government begins negotiations with the EU on Brexit, we will do so in the interests of all parts of the UK and of the UK as a whole. That is what I mean by governing for the entire United Kingdom.
“In areas like agriculture, fisheries, and the environment, the devolution settlements in effect devolved to the legislatures in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast the power to implement EU directives in these areas, within a common EU framework.” Theresa May
“As well as ensuring that we get the best possible deal from Brexit, we also need to ensure that the United Kingdom can operate as efficiently as possible in the future.”
She added: “The UK devolution settlements were designed in 1998 without any thought of a potential Brexit.
“In areas like agriculture, fisheries, and the environment, the devolution settlements in effect devolved to the legislatures in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast the power to implement EU directives in these areas, within a common EU framework.
“The essential common standards which underpin the operation of a single market were provided at the European level.
“We must also ensure that the UK which emerges from the EU is able to strike the best possible trade deals internationally.” Theresa May
“As we bring powers and control back to the United Kingdom, we must ensure that true powers sit at the right level to ensure our United Kingdom can operate effectively and in the interests of all of its citizens, including people in Scotland.
“We must also ensure that the UK which emerges from the EU is able to strike the best possible trade deals internationally.”
The comes came after May was challenged at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday by SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson about whether the powers currently held in Brussels on agriculture and fisheries would revert to the Scottish Parliament.
Robertson claimed that the prime minister failed to answer the question. He said: “Agriculture and fisheries are a key part of the Scottish economy and Scotland’s export sector. People in Scotland, including the agriculture and fisheries sector, were told during that farming and fisheries powers would be exercised fully by the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament – but now it seems that this is not true.”
“People in Scotland including the agriculture and fisheries sector were told during that farming and fisheries powers would be exercised fully by the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament – but now it seems that this is not true.” Angus Robertson
“The prime minister had the opportunity to provide clarity on the issue [at Prime Ministers Questions] and she failed.”
Currently, the Scottish Parliament has powers over agriculture, fishing and the environment since 1999 that is subject to EU legislation.
CommonSpace understands that powers over areas like agriculture, fisheries and the environment would come back to Westminister, and it is up to the UK Government to decide how to distribute the powers to the devolved administrations.
Picture courtesy of David Thomson
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