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Brexit and Europe Brexit and Europe

Work with the devolved administrations to deliver common legal frameworks

Last updated: 04:07pm 12 February 2019

In some areas, this will require common UK frameworks. We will work closely with the devolved administrations to deliver an approach that works for the whole of the United Kingdom and reflects the needs and individual circumstances of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.37

Our verdict

To get the context for this policy it helps to read the manifesto text that surrounds it. What it’s saying is that to deliver their (other) promise to ensure no new internal barriers are created after Brexit, the government will work closely with the devolved governments to develop a common approach. This is required “in some areas” of law that are currently governed by EU law but which, when we leave the EU and legal powers are handed back to the UK, should be recognised as devolved powers and therefore handled by the devolved governments.

So, we’re looking for evidence of two things here. Firstly, that the UK government works “closely with devolved administrations”, and secondly that the framework “reflects the needs and individual circumstances of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Progress so far is evident in the broad principles that were agreed in October 2017 to help guide the frameworks, the first progress report in November 2018 and the more recent second progress report in February 2019.

These reports show at least some degree of collaboration, but we’d need confirmation from all sides that this constitutes working “closely”. We also need confirmation from the devolved administrations that the approach does indeed meet their individual nations’ needs. This is especially important given the initial concern that the transfer of laws from the EU was being used as a power-grab by the UK government.

We’re still waiting to understand the final terms of the UK’s exit from the EU, but based on the evidence so far this policy is definitely ‘in progress’. Follow this policy for updates.

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