Brexit: Michael Gove pledge to devolved politicians on further EU talks

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Michael Gove
Image caption,
Michael Gove: "Ultimately, it's the UK government that's in the negotiating room"

"Rich and deep conversations" are needed with devolved governments on the UK's future relationship with the EU, a senior cabinet minister has said.

Michael Gove met ministers from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland ahead of Brexit on Friday.

But Mr Gove did not commit to giving them a formal role in the negotiating process, after the meeting in Cardiff.

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said there had been an "engaged discussion" on how to proceed.

With the UK leaving the European Union at 23:00 GMT on Friday, the Welsh and Scottish Governments and Northern Ireland Executive are seeking to influence the nature of the relationship with the bloc.

Britain will follow EU rules and have the same trading relationship as now until the end of the year, during a transition phase.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted a new relationship will be agreed with EU leaders over the next 11 months, but the European Commission has warned that timetable will be extremely challenging.

Image caption,
The meeting was held beneath an EU flag that will be removed in three day's time

Speaking to BBC Wales after Tuesday's meeting, held at the Welsh Government headquarters in Cardiff, Mr Gove said he wanted to ensure "we have rich and deep conversations, not just with the Welsh Government but also with our colleagues in Northern Ireland and Scotland".

"Ultimately, it's the UK government that's in the negotiating room, and there was a very clear mandate at the general election," he said.

"People wanted Boris Johnson to deliver Brexit and to unleash Britain's potential.

"Alongside that, it's also important that we make sure that the contributions from politicians across the United Kingdom are there at the heart of our negotiating strategy."

In an upbeat assessment of the meeting, Mr Drakeford said: "I think today we did get a recognition from the UK government that it's good for the UK to go into the negotiations with other parties saying they represent the whole of the UK.

"Therefore we need a structure to allow that to happen, we discussed how that structure could be brought about. There are further discussion we need around it but I thought it was an engaged discussion."