Transition Period: UK-EU Relations

Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 12th November 2020.

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Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice Team Member)

What recent discussions he has had with Scottish Government Ministers on preparations for the end of the transition period in the event of no agreement on the UK’s future relations with the EU.

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

What recent discussions he has had with Scottish Government Ministers on preparations for the end of the transition period in the event of no agreement on the UK’s future relations with the EU.

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

I and other Ministers have regular discussions with representatives of the Scottish Government and also other devolved Administrations to ensure that we can be prepared across the United Kingdom for the challenges we face as we end the transition period and the opportunities that will follow.

Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice Team Member)

A shared prosperity fund is by its very name inclusive. Why then, given the proximity to the end of transition, are not just Scottish businesses but the Scottish Government excluded from its details?

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Scottish Government, unlike the hon. Member, will not be in the dark about the future of the UK shared prosperity fund. He is absolutely right to draw attention to the fact that outside the European Union, we will be able to take back control of the billions that currently we give to the European Union, and we can invest that money in our shared priorities—for example, making sure that his constituents in East Lothian are better connected digitally, by rail and by other means to other parts of the United Kingdom, so they can enjoy the shared prosperity that comes from a strong United Kingdom working for all.

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

We now know, through leaked Cabinet papers, that this Tory Government hid their Brexit plans from devolved Governments, including on state aid and food supply availability. How does the Minister expect these Governments to prepare when those crucial details are blocked from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland? Does he agree that this level of ignorance and contempt is helping to deliver record levels of support for independence and a consistent majority over the last 12 polls in a row?

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

I have no secrets from the hon. Gentleman. We take an open-book approach to our preparations for leaving the European Union, which is why, later today, the Cabinet Sub-Committee that deals with the preparations—

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

I can see the hon. Gentleman making goldfish-type movements of his lips and teeth. Now he is breaking into a smile. That smile, of course, welcomes the fact that later this afternoon, the Government Sub-Committee that deals with our preparations for leaving the European Union will have Ministers from the devolved Administrations, including my friends from the Scottish Government, taking part. It is one of the pleasures of this role that I have the opportunity every week to talk to excellent colleagues such as Mike Russell, Humza Yousaf and others, who do such a good job in working across the United Kingdom in the interests of all.