Mundell Stalls on Brexit Powers

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Wednesday November 8 2017

UK Government must completely ditch their power grab bid.

The SNP has renewed demands for the UK Government to drop its planned Brexit power grab, after Scottish Secretary David Mundell appeared at Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee.

Mr Mundell was unable to name one devolved power that he thinks will require common, UK-wide frameworks of the kind suggested by the UK Government, saying:

“I declined in front of the European committee and in front of Scottish questions and I’m afraid I’m going to do the same today.”

Meanwhile, Robin Walker, a Minister in the Department for Exiting the EU said that it was “quite possible” for Clause 11 – the part of the EU Withdrawal Bill containing the power grab – “to be substantially reduced through agreement between the governments”.

However, he also confirmed the UK Government’s plans to impose constraints on the powers of the Scottish Parliament – stating that devolved powers returning from Brussels would only be “released” by the UK Government if and when they decide to do so.

The SNP has made clear that common frameworks must only be agreed by negotiation, not imposition.

Commenting, committee member Ivan Mckee MSP said:

“The Tories must ditch their Brexit power grab – all devolved powers currently exercised at EU level must be returned to Holyrood and not Westminster.

“The simplest way to do that would be to ditch the clause containing the power grab.

“And while Mr Walker’s comments suggest the UK Government has started backtracking on its previous position, they have to go much further.

“What is not clear from our discussions with David Mundell is how we will resolve any conflict over the content of the common frameworks he wants to establish.

“He could not name one single power that he thinks will need a common framework between Westminster and the Scottish Government, nor could he guarantee how conflicts over the content of these common frameworks could be resolved before EU withdrawal.

“The approach of the Tory Government utterly ignores the founding principle of our devolved parliament that all powers lie at Holyrood other than those explicitly reserved to Westminster.

“It’s insulting that the Tories think that the EU Withdrawal Bill is fit for purpose as it stands.”



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