‘Minister for removing opportunities!’ SNP MSP blasts Rees-Mogg over Brexit

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In a letter to the Brexit opportunities minister, Angus Robertson said the proposed Brexit Freedoms Bill, which will make it easier to amend existing EU laws on the UK statute book, would have “profound consequences” for devolved administrations. Mr Robertson also said the Bill is being written without adequate consultation with the rest of the UK.

He said: “Our concerns extend to the Brexit Freedoms Bill that will give legislative powers to remove or amend retained EU law, liberating us from the common area of democracy and the rule of law whose benefits we enjoyed for almost five decades.

“The UK Government seems ready to unveil these sweeping measures, which will have profound consequences for the devolved Governments, with next to no engagement, despite commitments to reset relationships with the devolved Governments in the conclusions of the intergovernmental relations review.

“Any proposals to change the law in devolved areas must not take place without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

“In short, rather than seeking to diverge from the EU, the UK Government should be developing as close a relationship with it as possible.

“It would be useful to find out in more detail the UK Government’s intentions in these matters and therefore I would be grateful for a meeting to discuss them.”

Mr Robertson further spoke about the 24 percent drop in trade between Scotland and the EU in the year up to September 2021 when compared to the previous year – a period when the Coronavirus pandemic was in full swing.

Along with hitting out at the UK Government for the loss of the Erasmus scheme for students and freedom of movement, Mr Robertson described the former leader of the House of Commons as the “minister for removing opportunities”.

He said: “You will be aware of course that 62 percent of people in Scotland voted to remain in the EU and there is widespread opposition not just to Brexit but also the hard Brexit approach the UK Government has chosen to pursue and which is doing so much damage to Scotland.

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“That approach means that, for most people in Scotland, you will, in fact, be seen therefore as the Minister for Removing Opportunities.

“As the recent House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report on EU exit found, the simple truth of the matter is that there is a profound absence of Brexit benefits, whereas the damage, delays and dislocation caused by leaving the EU are all too evident.”

A UK Government spokesman told PA: “We are going further and faster to maximise the benefits of Brexit and are increasing opportunities across Scotland by removing outdated ‘retained EU law’ and cutting red tape for businesses.

“Our landmark deal with Australia – projected to boost Scotland’s economy by £120 million – is an example of how our trade policy is delivering for the people of Scotland.

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