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Damian Green © Chris McAndrew

Brexit: UK leaders fail to reach power agreement

10/08/17Government

The latest discussions between the Scottish and UK governments about the repatriation of powers after Brexit have concluded with no agreement.

The First Secretary of State Damian Green met Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Scotland’s Brexit Minister Michael Russell in Edinburgh.

The devolved Scottish government has voiced fears of a ‘power grab’ by Westminster, but UK ministers have insisted there will be more devolution.

Russell said the latest talks were “useful”, but had not changed anything.

He said the Scottish government remained “absolutely clear” that it could not recommend Holyrood give its consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill in its current form.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon united with her Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones to describe the current proposals, which would see powers repatriated to Westminster in the first instance to set up a common UK framework, as a “naked power grab” from the devolved administrations.

Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, who was also at the talks, has previously spoken of a powers “bonanza” for Holyrood.

Following the meeting, Green said he thought the talks were “good”.

He added: “Obviously there are issues on which the UK government and the Scottish government place a different emphasis.

“But we agreed that we need to work first of all on the principles.

“We agree that we want to give more powers at the end of this process to the Scottish government and the Scottish parliament and we agree that keeping free trade within the UK to enhance the prosperity in Scotland and the rest of the UK has to be a really important outcome of Brexit.”

Both sides confirmed there will be further talks in the coming weeks.