Brexit ‘needs fresh devolution deal’

26 Mar 19

A new devolution settlement is required after Brexit, a Scottish cabinet minister has said. 

Brexit has proved “too heavy for devolution to bear” and a new constitutional settlement “will be required should Brexit take place”, according to Michael Russell, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for business and constitutional relations. 

Russell claimed that the UK government in is “determined” to roll back devolution and create a “more centralised state”, delivering a keynote speech at the Institute for Government 

The MSP for Argyll and Bute told the event that there has been “no attempt to build a truly UK-wide position on Brexit” and called for “profound change”. 

Russell said that the Scottish Government would be putting forward proposals for how the UK and devolved governments can work together better, including a statutory basis for intergovernmental relations and dispute resolution process. 

Scotland voted “decisively” to stay in the EU, he said, and despite this the UK government has shown “a persistent lack of candour” in discussion with devolved nations over Brexit. 

Russell noted that Scotland benefits “hugely” from being in the single market and that it “cherishes the values of the EU”. As such, Russell said the Scottish Government supports an extension of Article 50 and a second referendum. 

Russell was speaking at an IfG event where the think-tank released a report, highlighting the discontent felt by devolved ministers over their relationship to Westminster

The report also claimed that Brexit is likely to strain relations between UK countries in the future. 

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