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Leaving the EU: Devolved Administrations

Exiting the European Union – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th October 2018.

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Photo of Ronnie Cowan Ronnie Cowan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Infrastructure) 12:00 am, 25th October 2018

What recent discussions he has had with the devolved Administrations on the negotiations for the UK leaving the EU.

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

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State holds detailed discussions with the devolved Administrations on the negotiations, through monthly meetings of the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations). I co-chair the Ministerial Forum (EU Negotiations), which met most recently on Monday. We had a productive discussion on co-operative accords, including on science, education and culture.

Photo of Ronnie Cowan Ronnie Cowan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Infrastructure)

Has the Secretary of State read the Scottish Government’s most recent publication, “Scotland’s Place in Europe: Our Way Forward”? Will he pledge to consider the recommendation in the report that staying in the single market and customs union would be best for jobs and the economy?

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

I am clear that the Government’s position is that we will leave the single market and customs union, but I did receive a delightful bound copy of said report at the ministerial forum and will of course take it away and give it due consideration.

Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Yesterday, the Russian Federation formally objected to the post-Brexit schedule proposed by the UK at the World Trade Organisation. Unless the Russian veto is removed, if there is no deal, Welsh companies will not be able to trade on WTO terms. What discussions has the Minister had with the Welsh Government about this catastrophic likely outcome for the Welsh economy?

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

The hon. Gentleman refers to something that happened yesterday. I understand that the Department for International Trade has already responded and said that such objections at the WTO are not unusual and that it is already taking steps to address them.

Photo of Karin Smyth Karin Smyth Labour, Bristol South

The Minister knows that I am the vice-chair of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, of which he is a much-missed member. The assembly recently visited the Scottish Parliament, where we were shown the recent report. I have recently been to Wales and BIPA has just had its conference in London. The Minister greatly respects the United Kingdom and its constituent parts, but may I pick up on what the Secretary of State said? It is not good enough to keep on talking to Cabinet colleagues; Brexit is undermining the integrity of the Union. How often has the Secretary of State visited the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland to talk to the people there about how they really feel about the strain in our constitution?

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

I congratulate the hon. Lady on her important work with BIPA, of which I was a keen member as a Back Bencher. We take the Union very seriously. The Secretary of State regularly meets representatives of the two devolved Governments and the Northern Ireland civil service at the Joint Ministerial Committee. Although he is relatively new in his role, I am sure that he will visit all four parts of the United Kingdom during the course of his duties.

Several hon. Members:

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