Scotland would ‘not cooperate’ if UK imposes post-Brexit policy frameworks

Scotland’s Brexit Secretary has pledged to resist any attempts by Westminster to impose common policy frameworks in the event of the “chaos” of a no-deal Brexit.

Mike Russell insisted that the Scottish Government would “not cooperate” with such a move.

While the Scottish and UK administrations had been in talks to draw up common UK frameworks to cover areas such as food hygiene and animal health and welfare, Mr Russell said discussions on these had effectively been suspended as officials and politicians try to deal with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Russell told MSPs on Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee: “It’s hard, unless you spend time as I do in Whitehall, to realise how the entire machinery of government has been captured by the issue of no-deal and the chaos that presently exists.”

Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell (Jane Barlow/PA)

Common frameworks are needed to allow the UK’s internal market to continue to operate after Brexit, ensuring companies face the same regulations north and south of the border.

But Mr Russell said he had “no answer” about what would happen if the UK left the European Union on March 29 with no Brexit deal in place and with no frameworks agreed.

The Constitutional Relations Secretary said: “We would be in a position presumably where the UK Government would attempt to impose…I hope that that would not be the case because we would not cooperate.”

He stressed the Scottish Government was “not opposed to UK-wide frameworks” which will replace existing European regulations after Brexit, but said these should be “in Scotland’s interests”.

Mr Russell also insisted: “These should be negotiated and not imposed and that is the policy we continue to pursue.”

With no deal yet in place for Brexit, and little prospect of one being agreed, the cabinet secretary said the UK was “in a period of flux”.

He added that he did not believe the issue of common frameworks would be resolved “unless and until there is an agreement on an orderly departure, or until Article 50 has been suspended or preferably  revoked”.

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