The UK Government “shouldn’t be scared” of giving devolved administrations a say on trade deals after Brexit, a leading academic has said.
Dr Kirsty Hughes, director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations, said there was a “strong argument to look at our constitutional settlement” and consider giving the Scottish Government greater powers over future trade deals.
Dr Hughes was on a panel of academics and researchers giving evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee, which suggested Canada’s free trade deal with the EU, where Canadian provinces were given a significant role and a seat at the negotiating table, was a “sensible” model to follow.
Dr Michael Gasiorek, director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory, told MPs there “should be a strong element of consultation”, and that devolved administrations “should certainly be involved in the formulation of trade policy”. However, Dr Gasiorek said this shouldn’t extend to a formal veto.
Maddy Thirmont-Jack, of the Institute for Government, said it was “really important to include the devolved governments in the negotiation process”
And Dr Kirsty Hughes told MPs: “I think we don’t have to be quite so scared of this idea of requiring consent and not just consultation.”