Holyrood ‘stands to lose 111 powers’ if Repeal Bill passed

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Scotland’s Brexit Secretary has claimed Holyrood stands to lose more than 100 parliamentary powers if the repeal bill is passed.

Michael Russell said the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill to deal with powers returning from the European Parliament will give Westminster control over 111 areas currently devolved to Scotland.

Michael Russell  with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Contributed

Michael Russell with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Contributed

He told BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “In agriculture, fisheries, in environment - in 111 areas I think - are intersections of what they call European competence with Scottish Parliament competence.

“Those are all areas where we could sensibly sit down and say how do we work together on these things. In fact, we’re not allowed to work together on any of those things.

“So in every one of those 111 things which touch the lives of everybody in Scotland - farming, fishing, environment, justice, education - in all those areas the intention is that the UK Government will take those powers and they have not said that they will return a single one of those powers, which deal with devolved areas, to the Scottish Parliament, or to the Welsh Assembly and so is Northern Ireland.”

He said everyone who believes in devolution should be “concerned” about the bill, which is designed to transpose EU law into British law so the same rules apply on the day of Brexit as the day before.

Mr Russell is due to give a statement at Holyrood on the bill this afternoon.

• READ MORE: Brexit: Repeal Bill passes Commons as Labour shows division

On Monday Nicola Sturgeon called for all parties to work together to safeguard Holyrood in the face of Brexit “threatening the underpinning principle” of devolution.

Earlier on the same programme, Colin Clark, Conservative MP for Gordon, said the bill was not undermining devolution.

He said: “The day after the exit day, there are no powers the devolved parliaments will have lost.”

He added: “The SNP government at Holyrood should embrace this and get on board with this rather than trying to do everything it can to wreck it, because it’s a busted flush that it’s actually about the European Withdrawal Bill. What they’re trying to do, as they always are trying to do, is to undermine the union.”

Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird said the bill is a “power grab”.

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, she said: “This is about Westminster taking powers and taking control. In fact not even Westminster, in fact ministers taking control - it’s bypassing parliament and more importantly it’s bypassing powers that should be going to the devolved nations.”

The UK Government says devolved areas being transferred from Europe to Westminster initially will enable the creation of common frameworks ahead of further devolution and will result in extra powers for Holyrood.

The Scottish and Welsh governments have vowed not to grant legislative consent to the bill as it stands and plan to amend it to protect the powers of their devolved administrations.