UK Government challenged to share Brexit deal details ‘as matter of urgency’

Theresa May has been challenged to share details of any proposed Brexit deal with Holyrood ministers “as a matter of urgency”.

Scottish Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell made the plea after talks in Brussels went into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Both British and European Union leaders said there were still issues to be resolved – appearing to dash hopes that the UK Cabinet could sign off a deal on Tuesday.

But Mr Russell insisted details of any deal must be revealed to ministers in the devolved administrations, and not just the UK Government.

He spoke out ahead of a meeting in London between politicians from the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments, to be chaired by David Lidington, Mrs May’s defacto deputy.

The UK’s decision to quit the EU has heightened political tensions between the Tory administration at Westminster and Nicola Sturgeon’s government in Edinburgh, with SNP ministers accusing their London counterparts of a “power grab”.

Speaking ahead of the latest Joint Ministerial Committee meeting Mr Russell demanded: “The latest proposed Brexit deal must be shared with the Scottish Government as a matter of urgency, on the same basis as the access granted to UK ministers.

“Given what is at stake for jobs and living standards it is imperative devolved administrations are able to scrutinise the UK’s plans.”

He continued: “People in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and we are seeking to protect Scotland’s interests as much as possible. Clearly that is harder to do if we are being kept in the dark. ”

A UK Government spokesman said: “We are working for a deal with the EU that works for the whole of the United Kingdom, including Scotland, and tomorrow’s meeting will be another opportunity to discuss how best we achieve that.

“We place the utmost importance on engagement with the devolved administrations and we will continue to work closely with them as negotiations continue.”