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Sturgeon and Jones to work together on halting Brexit repeal bill 'power grab'

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones meeting at Bute House in Edinburgh to discuss their opposition to the Brexit repeal Bill. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 22, 2017. See PA story POLITICS EU. Photo credit should read: Jeff J Mitchell/PA Wire

The Scottish and Welsh first ministers have agreed to work together on amendments to the Brexit repeal Bill which they said is an "unashamed move to centralise decision-making power in Westminster".

Nicola Sturgeon met Carwyn Jones in Edinburgh and discussed their "alternative proposals" to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, designed to protect devolved powers.

The Bill aims to transpose EU law into British law so the same rules apply on the day of Brexit as the day before and involves EU responsibilities in devolved areas being initially transferred to Westminster.

The UK Government said this will allow common frameworks to be put in place where necessary before further devolution, but the Scottish and Welsh governments believe it is a "power grab".

Ms Sturgeon and Mr Jones joined forces to oppose the Bill when it was published last month, saying they would not recommend their governments grant legislative consent to the Bill as it stands.

In a joint statement following their meeting on Tuesday, the first ministers said the approach of the UK Government since the Brexit vote was "a rejection of the principle of devolution".

They said: "Most seriously, the UK Government's EU (Withdrawal) Bill is an unashamed move to centralise decision-making power in Westminster, cutting directly across current devolved powers and responsibilities.

"The Scottish and Welsh Governments have already made clear that they cannot recommend that the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly give their necessary legislative consent to the Bill.
"We believe that the Bill must not be allowed to progress in its current form.

"To provide a constructive way forward, the Scottish and Welsh Governments are now working to agree potential amendments to the Bill which would address our concerns. We are also coordinating our advice to the Parliament and Assembly to ensure they fully understand our concerns and our alternative proposals.

"It will now be for the UK Government to respond positively to our suggested amendments to move negotiations forward, and ensure there is a functioning legal system on withdrawal from the EU, and agreed UK structures - where these are required - that reflect the views and interests of all parts of the UK, and respect devolved powers and responsibilities."

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