'Key role' for devolved administrations in Brexit negotiations

Updated: 

Brexit Secretary David Davis is promising the devolved administrations a "key role" in preparing for EU withdrawal negotiations.

Meeting counterparts from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Mr Davis is setting out plans to hold monthly meetings of the EU Negotiation Joint Ministerial Committee, and sharing analysis as part of a "two-way information flow".

Mr Davis is saying the moves will allow the devolved administrations to voice their views as the Government prepares for divorce talks with Brussels which he insists will still be launched by next April despite the High Court ruling that Parliament, and not Prime Minister Theresa May, must trigger that process.

The Brexit Secretary will say: "We are determined to get a deal that works for all the parts of the United Kingdom.

"Building on the extensive engagement which has already taken place, we are starting the formal process that ensures the devolved administrations play their role in delivering on the will of the British people and making the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.

"I want to ensure the free and trusted flow of important information between all parties involved. So we are asking the devolved administrations to bring us their analysis that will help shape our priorities for the negotiation with the EU, and we will share our latest thinking.

"The UK has chosen to leave the EU and we are determined to work closely with the governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in making a success of it."

Mr Davis is also outlining how key economic sectors will play an important part in the process of negotiation for the UK's exit from the EU.

The Brexit Secretary will say Whitehall is committed to sharing analysis with the expectation that the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive will also share their own analysis and proposals for getting the best deal for the whole of the UK.

The Government hopes the High Court judgment on how Article 50 will be triggered will be overruled on appeal to the Supreme Court next month.

In a bid to show a post-Brexit UK will be open for global business, Mrs May is hosting Chinese vice premier Ma Kai at Downing Street as Chancellor Philip Hammond leads a China Economic Finance Dialogue in London.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Edinburgh would be seeking to intervene against the UK Government in its attempt to overturn the High Court ruling.

The First Minister said Scotland's most senior law officer, the Lord Advocate James Wolffe, would lodge an application to intervene in the legal case.

 

Ms Sturgeon said she was not trying to veto the right of England and Wales to withdraw from the EU, but insisted the large majority of Scottish voters who backed Remain could not be "brushed aside as if they do not matter".

 

"If there is a need for legislation in the House of Commons that raises the question of legislative consent, not just in the Scottish Parliament but in Wales and Northern Ireland as well. It strikes in many ways right at the heart of the devolution settlement," the First Minister said.

 

After some MPs criticised interim Ukip leader Nigel Farage's call for a mass pro-Brexit march on the Supreme Court, Downing Street said people had the right to demonstrate.

A Number 10 spokesman said: "It's very clear - there is a longstanding tradition in this country that people have been able to protest about various issues.

"What the Government is focused on is taking its case to the Supreme Court and we're confident that we can win that case."