Nicola Sturgeon last night said she expects the constitutional stalemate over the transfer of Brussels powers to continue today when she meets Prime Minister Theresa May.
The First Minister said she did not expect an agreement to be reached when the leaders meet in Downing Street for a meeting of the joint ministerial committee involving the UK government and devolved administrations. Today’s meeting is likely to see a less confrontational tone which acknowledges the threat posed by Russian aggression.
Ms Sturgeon said the Brexit powers issues on the meeting’s agenda were “serious ones”.
But she added: “We should also be mindful of the broader international backdrop to our discussions including wider economic and trade issues and the security situation following the suspected involvement of Russia in the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.”
The Scottish Government has long-standing objections to the way the UK government intends to repatriate powers from Brussels. The Scottish Government believes they should be devolved straight to Holyrood. UK ministers want a number to be held at Westminster so that common frameworks can be developed across the UK.
“We are not expecting an agreement to be reached on the withdrawal bill today as there are no new proposals from the UK government on the table,” a Scottish Government spokesman said. “The amendments currently proposed by the UK government do not have the agreement of either the Scottish or Welsh Governments as they do not respect devolution.
“No First Minister would agree to plans that would enable the UK government to take control of currently devolved powers without Holyrood’s consent – and without guaranteeing that the Scottish Parliament would have a role in future legislation in any area where these powers were used. The list published by the UK government last week only succeeded in underlining the threatened power grab, as it included key powers devolved to Scotland, including agricultural support, fisheries management, state aid and public procurement.”
Last night MSPs endured a rare late night sitting as they considered more than 200 amendments to the Scottish Government’s alternative Brexit Bill, produced in case Holyrood fails to give consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Last night Mrs May said she would make her commitment to achieving a powers deal clear at the meeting. The Prime Minister said: “I am determined to secure a settlement that delivers an unprecedented democratic dividend for the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while protecting and preserving the precious Union that is at the heart of our past, present and future success.”