Brexit: UK ministers snub Holyrood's Europe committee

The UK government has been accused of showing 'contempt' for Scotland's views on Brexit after it emerged that David Davis snubbed an invite to give evidence at the Scottish Parliament's Europe Committee.
Brexit Secretary David Davis (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)Brexit Secretary David Davis (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)
Brexit Secretary David Davis (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

The decision by the UK Brexit secretary to decline the invite was followed by a similar response from his junior minister.

Europe Minister David Jones had been invited to give evidence in David Davis’ place – and set a date for his evidence session of 16 March.

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Mr Jones was invited to give evidence on February 9 but rearranged that to March 16.

He has now suggested he gives evidence to the committee in mid-April.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will trigger Article 50, the formal process for quitting the Brussels bloc, before the end of the month.

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead, who sits on Holyrood’s Europe Committee, said: “It is astonishing that with weeks to go before the triggering of Article 50, neither the Brexit Secretary nor even his junior sidekick have deemed it a priority to appear before the Scottish Parliament despite their promises to do so.

“This is not only disrespectful to Parliament, it is disrespectful to Scotland especially when Brexit is being described as the biggest post-war challenge we have faced.

“Its failure to appear before the Holyrood committee illustrates the Tory Government’s contempt for Scotland and the will of our parliament. Not only does the Brexit Secretary avoid scrutiny at Holyrood, his junior minister cannot be bothered turning up even though he’s in Scotland on the same day.”

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the EU said: “UK Government Ministers have been fully engaging with the Scottish Government.

“The Secretary of State for Scotland has also appeared before Holyrood’s European Committee and other Ministers have appeared before the Scottish Parliament.

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“We have also established the JMC process, so that all parts of the UK are fully involved in the process of planning the UK’s departure from the EU.”