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PM’s deputy claims ag ‘power grab’ row over, but Scotland and Wales continue fight

Damian Green, the Prime Minister’s deputy, claimed the row over post-Brexit farming powers was over after meeting key figures from the devolved nations today.



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PM’s deputy claims ag ‘power grab’ row over, but Scotland and Wales continue fight

The Scottish and Welsh Governments had threatened to withhold consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill because it contains a ‘power grab’ clause.

 

This clause would prevent the devolved regions from passing new laws in areas which were previously the EU’s responsibility, such as agriculture, and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones suggested its continued inclusion would lead to a ‘deep constitutional crisis’.

 

After meeting the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) to discuss the issue this afternoon, Mr Green said: “I think you will see from principles we have agreed today that talk of a power grab is now behind us.

 

“We have agreed obviously there need to be ways in which we preserve the UK single market so we do not damage business in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

 

“But we fully respect the devolution settlements and we expect this to end with more powers going to the devolved administrations than they have had under the previous arrangement.”

 

Though the Scottish and Welsh administrations agreed progress had been made, they restated their opposition to the Bill in its current form.

 

 


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Scotland’s Brexit Minister Michael Russell said: “Today’s JMC meeting was a tale of two halves.

 

“We have been able to make some progress, including agreeing general principles which should ensure the role of the Scottish Parliament in any potential UK-wide frameworks.

 

“However, we remain unable to recommend the Scottish Parliament give consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill as currently drafted and will not be able to do so until the power grab is removed from the Bill.”

 

Mr Russell also said he had made clear to Mr Green leaving the EU with no trade deal in place was not an option the Scottish Government would ever support.

 

Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford described the meeting as ‘constructive’.

 

“We agreed the principles which will underline any frameworks, but this does not mean we have stepped back at all from our opposition to the Withdrawal Bill”, he added.

 

The JMC is due to meet again before Christmas.

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