New deal between UK and devolved governments 'needed post-Brexit'

MSPs said the deal should be a ‘first step’ to addressing the impacts of Brexit on devolution.

New deal between UK and governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland ‘needed after Brexit’ PA Media

A Scottish Parliament committee has called for a new memorandum of understanding between the UK Government and devolved administrations following Brexit.

A report from the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee at Holyrood, released on Tuesday said there had been a material change in how devolution looks following Brexit, with it being “very different” following the UK’s departure from the EU.

In 1999 and again in 2013, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the administrations, laying out key parts of the devolution settlement not codified in law, which included issues like international relations.

Convener Clare Adamson said: “Our recommendations for a new memorandum of understanding between the UK and devolved governments should be one of the first steps in the journey towards addressing the impact of the changes in devolution following our departure from the EU.

“As we navigate the path of regulatory divergence, it is critical that any new agreements acknowledge the fundamental principle that the Scottish Parliament must have the ability to effectively oversee all the powers within its competence.

“The evolving regulatory environment resembles a shifting landscape with its twists and turns, which has led to disagreements between devolved institutions and the UK Government.

“These dynamics present challenges to the Scottish Parliament’s core functions and its oversight of ministers that must be resolved to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

The committee has also called for the creation of agreements on common frameworks and the use of powers by UK ministers in devolved areas.

Constitution secretary Angus Robertson said: “This report makes clear that Brexit has had a profoundly negative effect on the exercise of devolved powers and on the Scottish Parliament’s important scrutiny role.

“Our own analysis published in June highlights examples such as the Internal Market Act and the Deposit Return Scheme, where UK Government ministers have sought to increase their control over Scotland’s devolved powers and imposed legislation without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

“We welcome the opportunity for further discussion on how devolution can be better protected, but a more respectful approach to the responsibilities of the Parliament is needed from the UK Government if the many legitimate concerns identified by the committee are to be addressed.”

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