It's no wonder Scotland and Wales feel left out in the cold by Ministers - the Brexit secretary apparently meets Sadiq Khan more often than our national leaders.
The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee heard evidence from London Mayor Sadiq Khan this morning – to discuss the future of devolution to London after Brexit. It came with a few revelations.
Discussing his relationship with Brexit minister David Davis, Sadiq Khan noted he meets David Davis ‘very regularly’.
That raised eyebrows with the SNP’s Ronnie Cowan. Last year there was an eight month gap between meetings of the Joint Ministerial Committee – the group of devolved national leaders and the UK government.
The EU sub-committee has been criticised ‘for simply providing an opportunity to rehearse well-established public positions, rather than meaningful discussions of the key issues that are aimed at reaching an agreement’ as the Institute for Government report. Only the UK government can decide when to hold a JMC meeting.
The last JMC meeting involving Scotland and Wales was in December – and that was the first since last February.
That meeting in December saw Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones set out their fears of a potential ‘power grab’ by Westminster of devolved powers after Brexit.
Those fears were confirmed two weeks ago, as the government pushed through moves that will see powers in devolved areas moved from Brussels to Westminster – rather than Holyrood and Cardiff Bay. It saw a walkout of SNP MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions.
The revelation from Sadiq Khan today is likely to cause anger among Welsh and Scottish figures.
A spokesperson for Plaid Cymru said it seemed like ‘a lot more than they meet the Welsh Government’.
And a spokesperson for David Davis’ own department said the view that David Davis meets Sadiq Khan more than the JMC and devolved leaders seemed correct.
The exchange at PACAC went as follows:
Ronnie Cowan MP: “How often do you meet with David Davis?”
Sadiq Khan: “Regularly…my officials meet with his officials very regularly. I last met with him last week. I think we have another meeting due in the next six weeks.”
Cowan: “That’s more than the JMC’s [Joint Ministerial Committee] met…sounds like your deal is better than Nicola Sturgeon’s here.”
Khan: “Well we’ll have to see what…You might say that but I couldn’t possibly comment.”
It will only flare up tensions between the Brexit department and the devolved nations – at an already febrile time.
Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards told Left Foot Forward the UK was on a path to breaking up:
“The UK hasn’t adapted to the fact that it is now a multi-polar state with four national governments.
“One of the consequences of Brexit is that there are enormous pressures on the structures and constitution of the state and unless there is radical reform to the way in which the four countries work together, with each country having an equal say, Brexit will ultimately lead to Wales, Scotland and England becoming independent countries and the reunification of Ireland.
“The current British Government seems oblivious to the concerns of the devolved countries – using Brexit as a means of reasserting Westminster-control over the whole of the state. That boat has long sailed.”
Watch Sadiq Khan’s statement below:
Left Foot Forward is awaiting comment from the Scottish and Welsh governments.
Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.
See the full hearing here.
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