UK and Scottish ministers in Brexit powers talks – BBC News

Image copyright Reuters

The possibility of releasing new powers to Holyrood after Brexit will be discussed in talks between the UK and Scottish ministers later.

First Secretary of State Damian Green will meet Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Scotland’s Brexit Minister Michael Russell in Edinburgh.

The Scottish government has warned of a Westminster “power grab” over fishing, farming and the environment.

UK ministers insist many new powers will be given to Scotland.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who will also attend the talks, has previously spoken of a powers “bonanza” for Holyrood.

Under the UK government’s Repeal Bill, EU law repatriated from Brussels would go to Westminster in the first instance.

Ahead of Wednesday’s talks, Mr Green said a common UK-wide approach would be necessary in some areas.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Scotland’s Brexit Minister Michael Russell says the EU withdrawal Bill is an “attack on devolution”

But he added: “There will be other areas where I intend that the Scottish and UK governments can make progress in identifying policy areas that could be released to Holyrood under the new legislative arrangements.

“We expect there will be a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration and we want to address this in a way which delivers certainty and continuity for people and businesses across the UK.”

‘Fundamental attack’

The Scottish government remains sceptical, with Michael Russell arguing the Repeal Bill represents “a fundamental attack on the principles of devolution”.

He said: “The bill – as it currently stands – means that Westminster would take exclusive control over significant areas of devolved policy, such as support for Scotland’s farmers and food producers and many aspects of environmental protection and control of our seas.

“We know that the UK government has its eye on more than 100 policy areas. That is a direct threat to the devolution settlement which the people of Scotland overwhelmingly voted for in 1997.

“Both we and the Welsh government have made it clear we could not recommend legislative consent to the bill as it stands, and today we will make clear that changes must be made to protect devolution.”

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