Sturgeon demands changes to European Union exit bill

Sturgeon demands changes to European Union exit bill”

Sturgeon and May's last one-on-one meeting was held in a cramped room at a hotel in Glasgow in March, just as Sturgeon was demanding the United Kingdom government grant her the powers to stage a fresh Scottish independence referendum before Brexit.

Edinburgh and London have clashed over crucial Brexit legislation with Ms Sturgeon threatening to withhold consents to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill unless changes are made.

The first minister had told the Guardian just before June's snap general election that she had found that meeting tense and frustrating.

But while the two female leaders who have not met since March, are set to clash over Brexit and controversial benefit cuts, they smiles and shook hands for the cameras in front of No10.

With Britain's divorce from the European Union now dominating the agenda, both leaders are adopting far more conciliatory stances and inching slowly towards an agreement, so Sturgeon can recommend that the Scottish parliament approves the Brexit bill in a so-called legislative consent motion.

They argue that the changes are needed to prevent a Westminster "power grab", as the bill would return responsibilities in devolved areas such as agriculture from Brussels to London rather than to Edinburgh or Cardiff immediately after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Ms Sturgeon claims the current proposals are a "power grab" by Westminster, and has accused the United Kingdom government of keeping the devolved administrations "substantially in the dark" on Brexit negotiations.

She said she and May had "probably achieved a better understanding of each other's positions than we have perhaps been able to do in the past".

"That remains the position, but hopefully having had the opportunity to air the concerns that we have in more detail, we will be able to see progress in the weeks to come". We oppose Brexit but we understand withdrawal legislation is necessary, so we want to find agreement.

The First Minister wants 38 changes to laws moving powers back from Brussels to Westminster after the split.

And with Chancellor Philip Hammond due to unveil his Budget next week, Ms Sturgeon will look to "set out the Scottish Government's expectations of the United Kingdom budget".

"The prime minister reiterated that as powers are repatriated from Brussels back to Britain there will be a significant increase in the decision-making powers for the Scottish government and other devolved administrations", a No 10 spokesman said.

According to a Downing Street spokesman, May told Sturgeon that "it remains her priority to provide certainty to businesses and people both in Scotland and across the country, as well as protecting our United Kingdom internal market".

The spokesman said: "The prime minister encouraged the Scottish government to continue to work with counterparts to secure the best outcome for the people of Scotland and the whole of the United Kingdom".

"They agreed to work collaboratively to ensure that the right systems are in place to protect and support those working across the UK's parliamentary institutions", the spokesman said.

The Scottish First Minister arrived at No10 where she said she will demand "clarity" from the PM Britain's departure from the bloc.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Scotland's Early Years Minister, Mark McDonald, both left their ministerial posts following complaints about their conduct.

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