Scotland and Wales have threatened to derail the Government’s Great Repeal Bill because of the ongoing tussle over agricultural powers.
The Scottish and Welsh First Ministers, Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones, released a statement which attacked the Bill as a ‘naked power grab’ and an ‘attack on the founding principles of devolution’ just hours after its release.
They have pledged to withhold their consent for the Bill if it is not amended to address their concerns on the location of farming powers.
While the devolved nations do not have the legal power to block the legislation, any refusal to approve it could plunge the UK into a deep constitutional crisis.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, Carwyn Jones said: “If we take agriculture and fisheries, the powers in Brussels should come straight to Wales. Why do they have to go to London first? For us, it is a power grab by Whitehall and that is something we cannot accept.
“We have offered a sensible solution. We have said let’s agree not to change things until we get an agreement on the way forward. That is the mature way of doing it.
“We are a partnership of four nations in the UK and we cannot accept a situation where one says to the other three, this is the way it is going to be and we are going to place restrictions on what you can do in the future.”
Asked what would happen if the UK Government ploughed on without consent from the devolved Governments, Mr Jones said it would cause an ‘immense constitutional crisis’ and prove the assurances of Brexit Secretary David Davis meant ‘absolutely nothing.’
Farming Minister George Eustice told Farmers Guardian last month ‘no final decisions’ had been made on the future distribution of powers.
“We are really keen to ensure there are powers for the devolved administrations to design schemes which work for their own agriculture and their own environment”, he added.
“But everybody recognises you also need to maintain some kind of UK framework in order to ensure the integrity of the UK single market is safeguarded.”
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