Theresa May attacked for Holyrood ‘power grab’

Posted On: 
1st March 2017

SNP MPs have rounded on Theresa May for refusing to confirm whether agriculture and fisheries policies will be handed to the Scottish Government following Brexit.

Angus Robertson at Prime Minister's Questions
Credit: 
PA Images

The Prime Minister was twice pressed by Angus Robertson on whether power to control some of Scotland’s largest industries would be granted to Holyrood when they’re returned to the UK from Brussels.

The SNP, who are pushing for Scotland to retain its EU status, have accused ministers of reneging on senior Leave campaigners' pledges that a vote to quit the bloc would mean more powers in Edinburgh.

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Mr Robertson, the party’s Westminster leader, said at Prime Minister’s Questions: “During the EU referendum campaign, people were told that decisions currently taken in Brussels on agriculture and fisheries would revert to the Scottish Parliament - but now it seems we face a power-grab from the UK government."

His intervention followed shortly after Scotland Questions, in which Scottish Secretary David Mundell similarly backed off from guaranteeing future powers.

He added: “Agriculture and fisheries are a key part of the Scottish economy and Scotland’s export sector. People in Scotland including the agriculture and fisheries sector were told during that farming and fisheries powers would be exercised fully by the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament – but now it seems that this is not true.

“The Prime Minister had the opportunity to provide clarity on the issue today and she failed.”

But Theresa May said the “overriding aim” was to prevent damage to trade within the UK, and that consideration of further devolution would form part of the UK’s Brexit negotiations.

She said: “The Right Hon Gentleman knows very well that we are discussing with the devolved administrations the whole question of the UK framework and devolution of issues as they come back from Brussels, the overriding aim...is making sure we don't damage the very important single market of the United Kingdom..."

“He seems not to have quite understood this point, that we are in the process of discussing which of those powers that currently reside in Brussels will return and remain at a UK level and which will be devolved...it will be the UK government negotiating with the EU, taking full account of the interests and concerns of the devolved administrations and, indeed of all the other regions of England.”