Attitude change needed in Brexit negotiations, warns Russell

Constitutional relations secretary Michael Russell will meet with members of the UK Government later.

Cabinet secretary: Mike Russell
Cabinet secretary: Mike Russell

A “sea-change in attitude” is needed from the UK Government if Scotland is to be given a meaningful role in future Brexit negotiations with the EU, a minister has said.

Constitutional relations secretary Michael Russell will meet with members of the UK Government and devolved administrations in Cardiff on Tuesday to discuss the country’s relationship with the EU following its departure from the bloc.

Speaking ahead of the Joint Ministerial Committee EU Negotiations (JMC EN), Mr Russell said: “All three of the UK’s devolved legislatures have refused consent to the EU Withdrawal Agreement legislation.

“Yet despite this unprecedented constitutional event the UK Government is pressing ahead with a hard Brexit that will impose significant damage on the people and economy of Scotland, hitting employment and living standards.

“There needs to be a sea-change in attitude from the UK Government if Scotland is to be given a meaningful role in negotiations, but it seems they are more intent than ever on ignoring our interests.”

Michael Gove, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, will attend the meeting.

Mr Gove said: “Ahead of the UK leaving the European Union on Friday, I will be in Cardiff to meet with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to discuss moving forward together, as one United Kingdom.

“2020 will be a year of growth and opportunity as we level up across all four corners of the country and strengthen our union.

“This has started positively with the restoration of Executive in Northern Ireland, and I look forward to seeing First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill back around the table today for the first time since 2017.”

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