Nicola Sturgeon said differences over Brexit power grab bill were not “insurmountable”
NO DEAL was reached at the joint ministerial committee (JMC) meeting over Brexit on Wednesday, but speaking after her meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May the first minister said that although differences between the two governments were significant, she was hopeful a deal could be reached.
Sturgeon’s Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones also said he was “hopeful” that agreement over the EU Withdrawal could be reached soon.
Both the Welsh and Scottish Government’s previously described the bill as a “power grab” since it would give London control over 24 devolved legislative areas when the powers return from the EU.
“The Scottish and Welsh Governments have made clear that there is a very important issue of principle at stake.” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Speaking to the press after the Downing Street summit, Nicola Sturgeon said she set out Scotland’s “clear position” that continued membership of the single market and the customs union would be the least damaging future relationship with the EU post-Brexit.
Nicola Sturgeon said: “On Brexit, I set out Scotland’s clear position that membership of the single market and the customs union would be the least damaging future relationship with the European Union and my very real concerns that the approach the prime minister has set out will not be acceptable to the European Union.
“We did not reach agreement on the withdrawal bill today but there was not an expectation that we would.
“The Scottish and Welsh Governments have made clear that there is a very important issue of principle at stake and we cannot and will not recommend approval of a bill that would undermine devolution by restricting our powers, even temporarily, without the consent of our parliaments.
“We have already compromised by accepting that some powers could be used to agree frameworks on a UK wide basis – however, this must be subject to the consent of the devolved nations.”
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Sturgeon added: “While agreement was not reached today, all administrations expressed a desire to find agreement and a determination to continue joint work towards one.
“The issues that remain to be resolved involve important issues of principle, which means that they are not insignificant – however, with political will and respect for the principles of devolution, nor should they be insurmountable.”
In a statement issued after the meeting, Number 10 said an amendment already tabled by the UK Government to the EU Withdrawal Bill would “ensure the vast majority of devolved powers will transfer directly to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast”.
However, some UK Government ministers have argued that not all 24 areas can be devolved in order to protect the UK’s “internal market”, saying that some of the repatriated powers will have to remain under Westminster control.
Picture courtesy of Number 10
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