Relations between UK and devolved governments must be reset, report finds
Relations between the UK and devolved governments are not working as well as they should – and constitutional arrangements must be “reset”, a new report has found.
It comes after the Scottish Parliament’s Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee found the UK’s bill on amending the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol is “further evidence” that constitutional arrangements between the respective UK and devolved governments must be reset in their report on the bill’s legislative consent memorandum (LCM).
The report notes that the Welsh Government has also stated that bills were introduced in the House of Commons “without any prior meaningful engagement by the UK Government with the Welsh Government about the Bill”.
An LCM is a motion passed by the devolved administration in which it consents that the Parliament of the United Kingdom may (or may not) pass legislation on a devolved issue over which the devolved government has regular legislative authority.
The committee released a report on Monday which argues relations between the UK government and devolved nations, as well as those between the parliaments and executives of the UK, are not working as well as they should and this issue “needs to be addressed”.
The Scottish Parliament will not give its consent to the Northern Ireland protocol, with committee convener Clare Adamson suggesting the consideration of the bill reinforces risks to devolution following Brexit.
Committee convener, Clare Adamson MSP, said: “The Committee’s view is that the scope of the delegated powers in this Bill need to be viewed within the wider context of the scope of delegated powers in other Bills related to the UK leaving the EU.
“Taken together, this presents a significant risk to the balance of power between the Executive and the Legislature both at a UK and devolved level.
“We have also previously reported that in our view the Sewel Convention is under strain following Brexit. Our consideration of this LCM reinforces that view.”
As part of the recommendations, the committee will now write to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, whose department is responsible for intergovernmental relations.
The Committee will also write to the Presiding Officer highlighting the significant risk to the balance of power between the Executive and the Legislature both at the UK and devolved level and will copy the letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lord Speaker and the Presiding Officer of the Welsh Senedd.
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