Scotland politics

Michael Russell calls for Brexit process "shift"

Michael Russell Image copyright PA

Scotland's Brexit minister has called for a "radical shift" in how the UK government deals with the devolved nations.

Michael Russell urged greater involvement from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish administrations in the Brexit process.

He claims Scottish ministers have not been consulted on several key papers.

The UK government said the level of engagement on Brexit was "unprecedented".

The Joint Ministerial Committee, which provides a forum for the various administrations to discuss Brexit, has not met since February, although a meeting has now been scheduled for the autumn.

Mr Russell told the British Irish Association conference in Cambridge that the views of the devolved governments have been ignored.

'Cliff edge'

He said: "All of the constituent nations and peoples of these islands will be harmed by a hard Brexit that sees the UK, including Northern Ireland, outside the single market and customs union, while Ireland and the rest of the EU are on the other side.

"What we need is for the UK government to admit this reality and stand up to those who would see the economy go off a cliff edge.

"The Brexit negotiations have made abundantly clear that we need a radical shift in how inter-governmental relationships are managed between the UK and the devolved nations."

The UK government rejected Mr Russell's criticism.

A spokesman said: "The level of engagement on this issue has been unprecedented, including meetings with ministers, officials, businesses and groups across the nations.

"The Bill and White Paper were both shared in advance of publication.

"Since the election, ministers and officials continue to be in close contact with the devolved administrations."

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