Labour demand EU powers be handed straight to devolved administrations after Brexit

Posted On: 
12th September 2017

Labour have demanded that major EU powers be handed straight to the devolved administrations after Brexit.

Labour say some powers currently held by Brussels should be returned to the devolved administrations.
Credit: 
PA Images

The move - among several amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill backed by MPs shortly after midnight - seek to limit the use of so-called delegated powers, giving the governments in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh control over areas such as agriculture and fishing.

Ministers have insisted that complete responsibility for those areas should return to Westminsiter after Britain leaves the EU - leading to accusations of a "power grab" by Scottish and Welsh politicians.

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But Labour's amendment will pile pressure on Scottish Tory MPs to defy Theresa May to back it.

Labour say their amendments seek to address the “worst aspects” of a “deeply flawed bill” and say moves to protect workers’ rights, environment standards, human rights and equalities laws will also be among their proposed changes.

Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer, said: “This is such a flawed bill that the Prime Minister should have dropped it and started again.

“Instead, she has adopted her normal blinkered approach and forced through a bill that will need extensive amendment and improvement in a whole range of areas.

“This is likely to cause delays and division in Parliament, and the Prime Minister has nobody to blame but herself.

“Labour amendments would give greater control to Parliament and take power back from the hands of ministers. They would protect key rights and environmental safeguards and ensure that the government does not have a legislative blank cheque.

“They will go some way to improve what is a deeply flawed bill”.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the bill could threaten the “very foundations of devolution”.

And the MP hit out at the 13 Scottish Conservative MPs for backing the bill, despite Ruth Davidson’s well-aired concerns over the potential economic impact of Brexit.

"Despite Ruth Davidson admitting that her biggest fear is the potential economic hit that could come with the UK government's damaging Brexit plans, and that we will not be able to 'bounce back,' her MPs this evening helped take us closer to that reality.

"I had written to the Scottish Tory leader seeking clarity about where Scottish Tory MPs stood on protecting our membership of the single market. Despite her intentional silence, her MPs answered for her.

"Every Scottish MP had an opportunity to either stand up and protect Scotland's interests, or instead assist the UK government pull off a Westminster power grab from devolved administrations.

“When the moment came to stand up for Scotland, Scotland's Tory MPs chose to follow their Westminster masters like sheep into the voting lobby to railroad through the Tory government's EU Bill."