Sat, 18 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Nicola Sturgeon rejects Theresa May’s latest offer on post-Brexit power sharing

Liz Bates

2 min read

Nicola Sturgeon has rejected Theresa May’s latest offer on how the devolved nations will share powers repatriated from Brussels after Brexit.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Scottish First Minister said Holyrood will not support the Government’s landmark EU Withdrawal Bill unless further concessions are made on post-Brexit power sharing.

But the Welsh government - which has also been in dispute with Westminster over the issue - broke ranks with Ms Sturgeon by accepting the Government's concessions.

Theresa May has previously denied that her proposals – which would temporarily give Westminster the final say over 24 policy areas which are currently devolved once Britain leaves the EU - represent a "power grab".

After lengthy negotiations, a compromise was expected to be agreed today but Ms Sturgeon wrote to the Prime Minister saying her government was still not happy with what is on offer.

She said there was still an “imbalance and lack of trust” implicit in the legislation.

But she added that “discussions will continue of course and I very much hope we can reach an agreement”.

Speaking this afternoon, Mike Russell, the Scottish Brexit minister, said the latest concessions had been rejected after “serious and respectful consideration” as they would restrict Holyrood’s say over areas such as fishing and farming for up to seven years.

“The UK Government’s latest proposals continue to give Westminster the power to prevent the Scottish Parliament from passing laws in certain devolved policy areas,” he told MSPs.

In contrast, Welsh finance secretary Mark Drakeford welcomed the UK government's offer and said his administration was now on board.

He said: "This is a deal we can work with which has required compromise on both sides."

The Scottish Conservatives accused Ms Sturgeon of putting “her narrow nationalist agenda before the good of the country”.    

Constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “The Welsh Government has signed up to this deal.

“Yet Nicola Sturgeon, alone, refuses because she prefers to pick a fight with the rest of the UK in order to keep her obsession with a second independence referendum alive.

“She began using Brexit to push for that referendum on the morning after the vote, and she hasn’t stopped trying since.

“Today shows that she simply won’t listen to anyone – nothing must get in the way of her independence obsession and it’s a disgrace.”

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Read the most recent article written by Liz Bates - Jeremy Corbyn admits he would rather see a Brexit deal than a second referendum


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