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UK minister Mundell 'guarantees' more Holyrood powers post-Brexit

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media captionDavid Mundell: "After the UK leaves the EU the Scottish Parliament will have more powers than they have today."

The Secretary of State for Scotland has given an "absolute guarantee" that the Scottish Parliament will get more powers as a result of Brexit.

David Mundell made his pledge during Scottish Questions in the Commons.

The response came after the SNP's Angus Robertson pressed both Mr Mundell and Prime Minister Theresa May about powers over agriculture and fisheries.

On Tuesday, Scotland's first minister accused the UK government of using Brexit to undermine devolution.

Nicola Sturgeon told a gathering in Edinburgh that the Scottish Parliament faced a "graver challenge" after "20 years of progress".

She also warned that without compromise, a second independence referendum may become a "necessary" way of protecting Scotland's interests.

Ahead of Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Mr Robertson asked Mr Mundell if "all decisions" relating to agriculture and fisheries would be taken by the Scottish government and the Scottish Parliament after Brexit.

The minister answered: "This government's plan is to engage with the Scottish government and with the other devolved administrations to discuss these very serious issues.

"It is not to go out and tell the people of Scotland that the devolved settlement is being undermined by Brexit - a Brexit which will lead to more powers being exercised by the Scottish Parliament.

"What I can give the right honourable gentleman is an absolute guarantee that after the UK leaves the EU the Scottish Parliament and Scottish ministers will have more powers than they have today."

image captionAngus Robertson said agriculture and fisheries were important industries for Scotland's rural economy

Moments later, Mr Robertson continued the same line of questioning to Mrs May.

He said: "Prior to PMQs, Scottish ministers were unable to answer basic questions on government plans for agriculture and for fisheries.

"These are important industries for the rural economy and they are devolved areas to the Scottish government and the Scottish Parliament.

"With Brexit ending the role of Brussels in these areas, will all decisions about agriculture and fisheries be made at Holyrood - yes or no?"

The Conservative PM said Mr Robertson knew "very well" that the UK government was discussing with the devolved administrations "the whole question of the UK framework and devolution of issues as they come back from Brussels".

She added: "The overriding aim for everything that we do when we make those decisions is making sure that we don't damage the very important single market of the UK.

"A market, I might remind the honourable gentleman, that is more important to Scotland than the EU is."

image captionScottish Secretary of State David Mundell and Prime Minister Theresa May listen to Angus Robertson of the SNP

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  • UK minister David Mundell: 'More powers for Scotland - guaranteed'