News In Focus
Holyrood committee calls for evidence on EU Withdrawal Bill
A call for views on the proposed approach to transferring powers from Brussels when the UK leaves the European Union has been issued by a committee of MSPs.
Holyrood's Finance & Constitution Committee has issued a call for evidence on the UK Government's European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, under which Westminster would take back all powers in the first instance, even in areas that are otherwise devolved, though with the intention that talks with the devolved admistrations would "rapidly" identify areas where these can then be handed on by legislative order.
The First Ministers of Scotland and Wales described this approach as a "naked power grab", and initial talks between the Scottish and UK Governments failed to make progress in resolving their differences. The Scottish Parliament must give legislative consent to the bill, but the Scottish Government has said it will not recommend it in its present form, giving rise to the prospect of a constitutional showdown between London and Edinburgh.
The Finance & Constitution Committee will take up Holyrood's scrutiny of the bill, including consideration of the expected legislative consent memorandum, following the Parliament’s summer recess. In order to inform the Committee’s evidence taking, the committee is seeking views on the impact of the bill on the devolution settlement and the expected legislative consent memorandum. In particular, it would be interested in hearing views with regard to:
- the appropriateness of the powers proposed in the bill for UK ministers and Scottish ministers;
- the approach proposed for repatriating powers which are currently competences of the European Union, and the implications of this approach for the devolution settlement in Scotland;
- whether there is a need to establish common UK frameworks to replace EU frameworks in devolved policy areas such as agriculture and environment, the appropriateness of the arrangements for these suggested by the bill; and alternative models for discussing, agreeing and operating any common frameworks that may be required;
- the suitability of current inter-governmental relations structures for a post-Brexit environment, and alternative processes and structures that may improve the effectiveness of intergovernmental relations, in light of the process of EU withdrawal and the development of common frameworks;
- mechanisms that could be put in place to ensure that the Scottish Parliament has sufficient oversight over the process of negotiating, legislating for and implementing Brexit, and of the exercise of powers conferred on Scottish and UK ministers by the bill.
Click here to view the call for evidence. Submissions are invited by 29 September 2017.
A feature on the bill will be published with this month's Jounral (goes live 14 August).