European Interest

May denies Brexit ‘power grab’

Flickr/EU2017EE Estonian Presidency/CC BY 2.0
British Prime Minister Theresa May said that leaving the EU will give the devolved governments more powers than they currently have.

On a tour of the United Kingdom to mark a year to go until Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May stressed there will be no Westminister power grab. During a visit to Ayr, she said that leaving the EU will give the devolved governments more powers than they currently have.

In response, the Scottish government accused May of being “dishonest” over Brexit and “letting everybody down”.

As reported by the BBC, both the Scottish and Welsh government have repeatedly claimed the UK government’s Brexit proposals are a Westminster “power grab” as some powers returning from Brussels will go to Westminster in the first instance instead of Edinburgh or Cardiff.

But May said: “Let’s be clear, there is no power grab, we are not taking back any of the powers that are currently devolved to the Scottish government. Indeed the Scottish government will be receiving more powers as a result of us leaving the European Union.”

“What we’re discussing with the Scottish government is how we can do that and ensure that we still maintain the ability for Scottish farmers, for Scottish businesses, to trade freely across the whole of the United Kingdom, just as we are negotiating the agreement to ensure they can continue to trade freely with the rest of the European Union,” she added.

According to a plan recently tabled by the UK government, the “vast majority” of the 158 powers in devolved areas that are currently exercised by the EU will go straight to the devolved parliaments after Brexit, as it had initially stated.

But it would retain control in 24 areas, at least in the short term, until UK-wide frameworks are worked out, reported the BBC.

The Scottish and Welsh governments say this would still in effect give Westminster a veto over some devolved responsibilities.

May has said she wants the four nations across the UK to “come together and really seize these opportunities for the future”.

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