Michael Gove raises concerns over Scottish Government’s preparedness for end of Brexit transition period
Michael Gove has raised concerns over the Scottish Government’s preparedness for the end of the Brexit transition period.
Writing to Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, Europe and External Affairs Michael Russell, the senior UK minister claimed officials were failing to attend meetings and had still not provided “crucial data”.
In an extensive letter, the Tory MP also dismissed Mr Russell’s claims that contact between the two administrations was “sporadic and dysfunctional”.
Mr Gove explained the Devolution Joint Ministerial Committee had met five times this year, and suggested it was not his team that were failing to be available.
He said: “I am sorry if you feel that the UK Government’s contact with you and others in the devolved administrations has not been all that it might be.
“I have been and remain very keen to secure the best possible engagement between us.
“I note that despite this intensified engagement, UK Government ministers and officials have not been invited to any operational readiness meetings of the Scottish Government.
“I appreciate that is your decision, but we still lack access to crucial data and have not had papers or other important planning materials shared with us.
“This includes information on: how the funding the Scottish Government received to support readiness has been spent; how many environmental health officers are in place in local authorities; and how you are ensuring businesses are aware and taking action to prepare for change.”
Mr Gove also praised Boris Johnson’s “firm leadership”, and insisted Britain would become an independent coastal state.
He wrote: “In these negotiations we are determined to defend our interests in key sectors including fisheries.
“Our approach will ensure that at the end of the transition period the UK will be an independent coastal state, no longer bound by the Common Fisheries Policy.”
It echoed comments made in a letter to Jeremy Miles, Wales's Minister for European Transition.
Mr Gove wrote: "I am afraid we strongly disagree with your premise that we should ‘back down’ on fisheries.
"The UK Government’s view is that in all circumstances, the UK must be an independent coastal state, no longer be bound by the Common Fisheries Policy."
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