According to The Herald, David Mundell, speaking after the latest Joint Ministerial Council meeting in Whitehall, said it would have been “helpful” for Scots to have known about the return of powers from Brussels to Edinburgh “at the earliest opportunity” to counter SNP claims that the EU Withdrawal Bill amounts to a Westminster “power grab”.
He said: “The Scottish Government position, as I understand it, is they don’t want to do that until the process is complete and they have signed it off. I respect that.
“Given that they stoked up this power-grab row, which was not based on fact, it would have been helpful if we had been able to set out [the position] at the earliest opportunity...It would have demonstrated the position is not as it has been set out.
“However, this is a negotiation. I want to proceed with the maximum of agreement through that process and, therefore, I will respect their wish not to put it into the public domain.”
The Scottish Government has rejected Mr Mundell’s claims.
A spokesman said: “This suggestion is wrong; the UK Government did not say or even indicate at the meeting that it wanted to publish a list of the devolved powers it wants to transfer to Westminster.
“The Scottish Government’s position is that all devolved powers currently exercised at EU level should remain devolved. We are seeking a change in the EU Withdrawal Bill that would ensure key policy areas such as agriculture, fisheries, state aid, procurement, food standards and environmental quality remain devolved in the event of Brexit.”
Mr Mundell said most of the 111 powers and responsibilities would go to the Scottish Parliament quickly after withdrawal in March 2019, a small number would be subject to informal agreement and another small number to common frameworks.