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Update on Brexit talks

Published: 2 May 2018 18:40

Minister pledges to continue to push for a solution. 

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe Michael Russell has reiterated the need for changes to the EU Withdrawal Bill to protect devolution, following a meeting with the UK Government in London.

Mr Russell confirmed there are still options which would secure an agreement, with two solutions suggested to the UK Government at the Joint Ministerial Committee on European Negotiations.

The Minister said:

"We continue to look for agreement between the governments but not at any price. That means I will keep seeking an agreed outcome that protects devolution and we have put forward two solutions that would achieve that goal. The bill can still be amended at third reading in the House of Lords.

"Under the current UK Government proposal, we could see the powers of the Scottish Parliament changed without the consent of parliament for the first time ever. 

"The legislation would also give the UK Government the power to prevent the Scottish Parliament from passing legislation in key areas such as farming, fishing and the environment for up to seven years.

"I have made it perfectly clear that the bill must respect the existing devolution settlement and that is why I will continue to try to deliver changes to protect the principles of devolution.

"While there is a short amount of time for further negotiation,  the Scottish Parliament will now consider whether the EU Withdrawal Bill should be given legislative consent. We will respect the decision of the Scottish Parliament and I hope the UK Government will also do so.

"As well as the discussions on the EU Withdrawal Bill, I also took the opportunity to once again highlight the significant evidence that our economy, jobs and communities would be best served by remaining within the Single Market and Customs Union and avoiding the economic disaster of a hard Brexit.”