Date lodged: 22 February 2018
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its discussions with the UK and Welsh governments regarding the EU withdrawal bill, following the recent meeting of the joint ministerial committee, JMC-EN.
Answered by: Michael Russell 13 March 2018
There was a further meeting of the JMC(EN) on 8 March. At that meeting the UK Government did not bring forward any new proposal acceptable to the Scottish and Welsh Governments. Their proposals would still allow the UK Government to decide unilaterally to take control of devolved powers without the agreement of the devolved legislatures.
The Scottish and Welsh Governments have made a further proposal that would protect devolution by ensuring the devolution settlement cannot be changed without the consent of the devolved legislatures. The governments proposed that, if agreement could be reached on areas where UK-wide legislative frameworks may be required after Brexit, and if it is agreed that consent to the an order affecting devolved competence would be required from the devolved legislatures in each case, then the governments would take steps to reassure the UK Government that consent would not be withheld unreasonably.
With regard to the list of areas for potential frameworks, the UK Government produced for the meeting a new list, which had not been shared or discussed with the Scottish or Welsh Governments. This list has not been agreed by the Scottish Government, but in the interests of transparency, we did not object to it being published. The UK Government has now published their list: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/frameworks-analysis
We continue to want an agreed solution and to be able to recommend consent to the Scottish Parliament. Hence we made fresh proposals at the JMC(EN). If agreement is not possible, there remains the option of the Continuity Bill, which received overwhelming backing across the Scottish Parliament on 7 March.
In line with normal practice, I will be writing to the Parliament on the JMC(EN) meeting shortly.