Devolved adminstrations meet Davis over Brexit plans

First Minister Arlene Foster talks to the media after taking part in a joint ministerial committee meeting with devolved nations, hosted by Brexit Secretary David Davis

First Minister Arlene Foster talks to the media after taking part in a joint ministerial committee meeting with devolved nations, hosted by Brexit Secretary David Davis

Brexit Secretary David Davis said he had a “constructive and amicable” meeting with his counterparts from the devolved administrations, as the Scottish Brexit minister urged the UK Government to provide “greater clarity and transparency” on plans to leave the EU.

Mr Davis laid out plans for the UK Government to hold monthly meetings of the EU Negotiation Joint Ministerial Committee, enabling the Scottish government, the Welsh government and the Northern Ireland Executive to share analysis as part of a “two-way information flow”.

Mr Davis said the moves will allow the devolved administrations to voice their views as the Government prepares for divorce talks with Brussels which he insists will still be launched by next April, despite the High Court ruling that Parliament, and not Prime Minister Theresa May, must trigger that process.

Following the meeting, Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell said: “Although it is good that the process of involving the Scottish government and the other devolved administrations is under way, more than four months after the referendum the UK Government has still not made its strategic intentions clear.

“There was a discussion over EU market access but we do not know whether UK ministers want to remain inside the single market or the customs union. This will remain a considerable problem as we continue to promote the interests of Scotland.

“The UK Government must provide greater clarity and transparency on its intentions.”

He said he made it “absolutely clear” that membership of the single market “is essential for the economic prosperity of Scotland”.

Mr Davis said: “Today’s meeting was an important step in bringing the devolved administrations together with the UK Government to discuss how we can work together to get the best deal for the whole of the UK.

“Naturally, there are different standpoints around the table, but the meeting was constructive and amicable. We will meet regularly and share our latest thinking as the UK shapes its negotiating strategy.

‘We will work positively with the Scottish government, the Welsh government and the Northern Ireland Executive as we implement the decision of the people of the UK to leave the EU.”

The UK Government hopes the High Court judgment on how Article 50 will be triggered will be overruled on appeal to the Supreme Court next month.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Edinburgh would be seeking to intervene against the UK Government in its attempt to overturn the High Court ruling, saying she was not trying to veto the right of England and Wales to withdraw from the EU, but insisted the large majority of Scottish voters who backed Remain could not be “brushed aside as if they do not matter”.

The first minister said Scotland’s most senior law officer, the Lord Advocate James Wolffe, would lodge an application to intervene in the legal case.