62% of Scots want European powers moved to Holyrood after Brexit, poll finds


Almost two-thirds of Scots want powers currently held by Brussels to be transferred to Holyrood and not Westminster when Britain leaves the European Union, a new poll has revealed.

According to the survey, 62% want to see responsibilities over devolved areas currently held by Europe to be transferred straight to the Scottish Parliament in the wake of Brexit.

The research, for the campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, was released as negotiations continue between Scottish and UK ministers in a bid to break the deadlock over where the powers should go.

At the moment, the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales say they cannot consent to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill unless changes are made.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones have branded the Bill a "power grab" as responsibility in devolved areas is set to be returned from Brussels to London, so UK-wide frameworks in areas such as agriculture can be drawn up.

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Control over these areas would only be given to Cardiff and Edinburgh at a later stage.

The impact of the EU Withdrawal Bill on devolution is set to be debated in the House of Commons on Monday.

Stewart Kirkpatrick, of 38 Degrees, said: "This poll couldn't be clearer: Scots want the Scottish Parliament, not Westminster, to have control over devolved issues after Brexit."

A total of 1,017 adults in Scotland were questioned on the issue by pollsters at Survation between November 27 and 30.

The poll also found 46% of people - rising to 62% when "don't knows" were excluded - felt devolution would be undermined if the powers did not come to Scotland.

More than 40,000 people have signed a petition on the 38 Degrees website in support of this.

Mr Kirkpatrick, head of the organisation in Scotland, said: "38 Degrees members - and nearly two-thirds of poll respondents who expressed a view - are concerned that the UK Government's current plans for a 'power grab' could undermine devolution.

"Now, MPs across Scotland have to listen to their constituents and vote to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill next week to protect devolution."

A Government spokesman said: "The UK Government has been clear from the outset that as a result of exiting the EU more powers will be devolved to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

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"Real progress is now being made in ensuring that all parts of the UK are ready for the extra powers that are coming back from the EU to the UK."

Michael Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, said: "This poll confirms overwhelmingly that the people of Scotland can see the current EU Withdrawal Bill for what it really is - a power grab by the UK Government.

"The Scottish Government will not recommend its approval by the Scottish Parliament as it stands, a position that has widespread support right across Scotland from independent observers such as the Law Society of Scotland and Scottish Fishermen's Federation.

"The UK Government must respect the will of the Scottish people and act urgently to amend the Bill and ensure powers are rightfully returned to the Scottish Parliament."