Devolved power curb ’should be repealed’
UK confirms ‘significant progress’ agreeing frameworks with devolved administrations.
The ‘unnecessary’ UK law curbing the powers of the Scottish Parliament is undermining devolution and should now be repealed, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell has said.
In an update to the House of Commons, the UK Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington, confirmed ‘significant progress’ is being made agreeing common policy frameworks in the event of Brexit.
Mr Lidington also confirmed there have been no orders made so far under section 12 of the EU (Withdrawal) Act, which allows the UK Government to freeze devolved powers. The legislation was refused consent by the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Russell said:
“In line with the people of Scotland, the Scottish Government opposes Brexit and the chaos surrounding negotiations demonstrates the harm that will be caused from leaving the EU.
“However, if Brexit is to happen, we have always said that co-operation between governments is clearly the right and best way both to ready our statute books and to agree common UK frameworks, where these are in Scotland’s interests - not imposing policies and laws on Scotland against our democratic will.
“The significant progress being made on frameworks vindicates the Scottish Government’s consistent position and renders section 12 completely unnecessary. We have made it clear that if the UK Government tried to introduce a section 12 order we could not continue co-operation.
“Grabbing power from the Scottish Parliament and undermining the devolution settlement is obviously not conducive to cooperative working and section 12 should be immediately repealed.”
The UK Government has laid a report before the House of Commons confirming there have been no orders under section 12 of the EU (Withdrawal) Act in the first three months of it coming into force. It states:
“On the basis of the significant joint progress on future frameworks, and the continued collaboration to ensure the statue book is ready for exit day, the UK Government has concluded that it does not need to bring forward any section 12 regulations at this juncture. On this basis, the Scottish and Welsh Governments continue to commit to not diverging in ways that would cut across future frameworks, where it has been agreed they are necessary or where discussions continue.”
Areas where progress has been made in discussions include: Food and Feed Hygiene & Safety Law; Animal Health and Welfare; Fisheries Management and Support; Nutrition Health Claims, Compensation & Labelling; Hazardous Substances Planning and Public Sector Procurement.