Devolved Administrations

Exiting the European Union – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th July 2018.

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Photo of Chris Law Chris Law Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development) 12:00 am, 19th July 2018

What discussions his Department has had with the devolved Administrations on the content of the White Paper on the future relationship between the UK and the EU, published on 12 July 2018.

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

What discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on their preparations for the UK leaving the EU.

Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

What discussions his Department has had with the devolved Administrations on the content of the White Paper on the future relationship between the UK and the EU, published on 12 July 2018.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

Extensive discussions were held with the devolved Administrations through the Joint Ministerial Council for EU negotiations and the ministerial forum for EU negotiations, which I chair, and at official level, to ensure that their views were taken into account in finalising the White Paper.

Photo of Chris Law Chris Law Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development)

If that is the case, will the Minister tell the House why the White Paper includes absolutely no mention of how the UK Government will include the devolved Administrations in the development of new trade relationships with the EU?

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

There are many references, which I was pleased to talk through on the day of the publication of the White Paper with a Minister from the Scottish Government, and indeed a Minister from the Welsh Government, a number of which they welcomed.

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

It will come as no surprise to anyone here that the Scottish National party do not want to make a success of Brexit. They want to wreck Brexit and wreck our United Kingdom, and the implementation Bill is designed to do just that. Can my hon. Friend assure me that he is doing all he can to ensure the implementation of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 across the whole of the UK, to enable the smooth transition out of the EU that is needed for business and the economy to thrive?

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

I agree with my hon. Friend, but significant concerns remain about whether UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill is within the competence of the Scottish Parliament. As he knows, the Supreme Court will be considering that matter next week. I remind the House that the Government have worked hard over the past year to try to secure the support of the Scottish Government for the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. However, we could not go as far as the Scottish Government would want, because it cannot be right that one legislature in one part of the UK should be able to veto the approach of the Union when there is agreement on the UK-wide framework.

Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

Given that the implementation of the agreements reached between the EU and the UK will be in devolved areas of competency, why was there not proper discussion with Scottish Ministers in advance about how that would happen? When will those discussions take place?

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

There has been regular discussion between the Government and Scottish Ministers, including ahead of the White Paper, and those discussions will continue. We will continue to work with the Scottish Government in good faith on the arrangements for a future partnership with the EU and on preparations for contingency planning.

Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

I think that the Government are still planning to bring forward a withdrawal agreement and implementation Bill in due course, so will the Minister tell us whether that will require legislative consent from the devolved institutions? Will he also tell us whether he expects it to have to amend or repeal any aspects of the customs and trade Bills that we have been debating this week?

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

We will be bringing forward more detail on that legislation shortly. This is something that we have already discussed in some depth with the Scottish Government through the ministerial forum for EU negotiations.