Brexit deadlock deepens as May amends withdrawal bill

Nicola Sturgeon

The amendments have been described by ministers south of the...

The UK government will today publish its proposed changes to the Brexit bill, despite a continuing row with the Welsh Government and no deal in sight. In exercising this power, the UK government would only be under a duty to consult the devolved administrations and provide information to the UK Parliament on the effect of the regulations and that consultation.

The changes refer to which of the powers returning from the European Union after Brexit will be transferred directly to the devolved administrations.

"Our amendments respect and strengthen the devolution settlements across the UK but still allow the UK Government to protect the vitally important UK common market, providing much-needed certainty and no new barriers to doing business".

The Scottish Government has drawn up it is own "stopgap" Continuity Bill created to plug holes in the statute book when the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

But last week, another meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee ended without consensus and tensions rose further when the UK Government listed the 24 responsibilities it says can't go straight to Cardiff Bay.

Plaid Cymru, which is working with Labour on a Continuity Bill to claim the disputed powers without the agreement of the UK Government, has urged the Welsh Government not to give in as talks continue.

Image caption Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said the governments should have agreed on the amendments before they were officially tabelled.

Scotland and Wales have said the UK Government's EU Withdrawal Bill, which transposes EU law into UK law following Brexit, is a "power grab" while Westminster argues the devolved administrations will gain more powers.

Mr Drakeford said he been left with the understanding there would be "further opportunities for talks" before the United Kingdom government put forward the amendments.

"However, in my view, a United Kingdom government amendment at this stage does no more than protect its position, as a fall-back option, in much the same way as our continuity legislation does for the Welsh Government and National Assembly".

Last week Mark Drakeford, Welsh finance minister, said the United Kingdom government needed to make "significant changes to the Withdrawal Bill to fully respect devolution".

Scotland's Brexit Minister has told MSPs that the Scottish and Welsh administrations do not back the United Kingdom government's proposed changes to key Brexit legislation.

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