Boris Johnson’s ‘Brexit freedoms bill’ a new threat to devolution say Welsh and Scottish governments
Both the Welsh and Scottish governments have warned that Boris Johnson’s new ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’ constitutes a threat to Wales and Scotland’s political autonomy.
The ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’ will allow EU laws to be more easily removed by No 10 Downing Street. It is understood to be part of Boris Johnson’s attempt to appeal to Conservative MPs and avoid a vote of no confidence in his leadership.
But Wales’ minister for the constitution Mick Antoniw said that the UK government’s approach was driving a “coach and horses through the concept of mutual consent”.
“The government has been unable to provide assurances that its plans for future changes in dealing with ‘retained’ EU law would not affect the devolution settlement,” he said.
Scottish Culture Secretary Angus Robertson also criticised the idea, saying that it was announced with “little discussion, consultation with, or indeed respect for, the Scottish parliament and government”.
“Within days of the UK government promising more respectful ways of working, we were informed of what is clearly a rushed exercise over the weekend with nothing more than a vague verbal briefing,” he said.
Representatives of the Welsh and Scottish governments are understood to have made their concerns clear in a telephone call with UK attorney-general Suella Braverman over the weekend.
‘Benefits of Brexit’
Downing Street however said that under current rules reforming and repealing EU laws would take several years due to the need for primary legislation to go through the House of Commons.
Boris Johnson said: “Getting Brexit done two years ago today was a truly historic moment and the start of an exciting new chapter for our country.
“We have made huge strides since then to capitalise on our newfound freedoms and restore the UK’s status as a sovereign, independent country that can determine its own future.
“The plans we have set out today will further unleash the benefits of Brexit and ensure that businesses can spend more of their money investing, innovating and creating jobs.”
Attorney General Suella Braverman said that setting up a mechanism to deal with retained EU law was “essential”.
“It means we can move away from outdated EU laws that were the result of unsatisfactory compromises within the EU, some of which the UK voted and lobbied against – but was required to adopt without question,” she added.
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