Calls for transparency over Westminster and Holyrood Brexit talks
Lesley Laird MP has called on Scottish Secretary David Mundell to reveal his next steps for devolution as the clock ticks down towards Brexit.
The move by the Shadow Scottish Secretary follows the publication of a "damning" report by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee which criticised Westminster’s lack of consultation with devolved governments in advance of the publication of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.
“Earlier consultation could have possibly avoided much of the acrimony that was created between the UK Government and the devolved Governments,” the report stated.
In a letter to Mr Mundell, Laird called for reform of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) and requested a breakdown of work already completed on the devolved 24 areas of common framework.
Laird also requested confirmation of all scheduled meetings between UK and Scottish Government ministers leading up to the UK’s exit from the EU on March 29 next year.
In a statement, Laird warned that time was running out for a framework to be established. “Last month’s report confirmed the incompetence of the UK Government’s handling of the devolution aspects of Brexit but, incredibly, we still know precious little about what steps are being taken now to repair this shambles." she said, adding: “We’re fast running out of time and these 24 frameworks clearly need to be resolved. It’s essential we – the people of Scotland - know what work has been completed on these already and when that will be announced.
“It’s not good enough for parties to simply stagger from meeting to meeting, there needs to be a consistent series of JMC meetings between now and March. The clock’s ticking and yet where is the impetus?"
“This report told Westminster it needed to do much, much better. So, the question I’m asking David Mundell is this: what are you going to do much, much better?”
The criticism comes after the Danish and Latvian governments warned that there was a "50/50" chance of a no deal Brexit.
Kristian Jensen, Denmark's Fiance Minister told the BBC that he agreed with the Latvian government's warnings, commenting “I also believe that 50-50 is a very good assessment because time is running out and we need to move really fast if we’ve got to strike a deal that is positive both for the UK and EU.”
He also said that the UK government “needs to put in some effort in the months to come, otherwise I’m afraid that time will run out”.