Theresa May promises 'unprecedented democratic dividend' ahead of Sturgeon meeting

Posted On: 
14th March 2018

Theresa May will meet Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones today in a bid to end the impasse with the devolved administrations over Brexit. 

Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon meeting at Downing St in November

The Prime Minister insisted that leaving the EU would mean an "unprecedented democratic dividend" for the four nations of the UK. 

But Scottish and Welsh leaders have expressed concern about a "power grab" after Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said some 24 areas would have to be controlled by Westminster immediately after the UK leaves the bloc. 

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He argued that this would avoid short-term confusion in areas such as food hygiene, chemicals and animal welfare, but the SNP described it as "rewriting the devolution settlement". 

Speaking ahead of today's Joint Ministerial Council meeting at Downing St, Mrs May sought to allay concerns, saying:

"I am determined to secure a settlement that delivers an unprecedented democratic dividend for the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while protecting and preserving the precious Union that is at the heart of our past, present and future success."

Ms Sturgeon expressed scepticism about the meeting, saying the Government had offered "no new proposals". 

"While we remain determined to continue discussions on this issue, it is time for the UK government to show respect for devolution and accept that no changes can be made to Scotland's devolved powers without the consent of the Scottish Parliament," she said. 

"Today is an opportunity for the UK government to demonstrate that it is genuinely committed to acting in the interests of the people of Scotland and to respect the democratically endorsed devolved settlement."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell had been due to attend the talks, but had to return to Scotland yesterday following the death of his mother.