Scotland and Wales threaten to kill 'naked power-grab' Brexit bill

German Minister of State for European Affairs Michael Roth | Stephanie LeCocq  EPA

German Minister of State for European Affairs Michael Roth | Stephanie LeCocq EPA

No fewer than four government papers were launched in the space of an hour on Thursday, including legislation once heralded as the "great repeal bill", but now entitled the European Union (withdrawal) bill, to carry the country over the horizon to a land beyond membership.

The letter was signed by Mike Thompson, chief executive of the UK's Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and called on negotiators Michel Barnier, representing the European Union, and UK Brexit minister David Davis, to secure ongoing cooperation over the medicines supply.

Separately, the first ministers of Scotland and Wales issued a joint statement saying they would not support the devolved Scottish and Welsh assemblies giving consent to the Bill - something the United Kingdom government has pledged to seek.

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: "If the government try any wheeze or trick to force through changes to vital protections, from workers' rights to the environment, they are playing with fire". MPs and peers in the Lords will then vote on the bill through the normal parliamentary procedures.

The powers, which would limit Parliament's oversight, could cover some of the most controversial last-minute elements.

In their statement, Ms Sturgeon and Mr Jones said: "This week began with the Prime Minister calling for a constructive and collaborative approach from those outside Whitehall to help get Brexit right". The country is set to withdraw in March 2019 after negotiations on the divorce and a possible future trade deal.

Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said bill 'simply not fit for objective'.

Ms Sturgeon and Mr Jones said they "agree we need a functioning set of laws across the United Kingdom after withdrawal from the EU" but said new devolved powers had to be agreed "through negotiation and agreement, not imposition". That means just a handful of rebels from her own party would need to defect if all other opposition parties voted against it.

Labour is demanding concessions including a guarantee that workers' rights do not fall behind the European Union after Brexit.

That widespread "Henry VIII" powers contained within the bill allowing the government to rewrite decades of United Kingdom law are restricted.

Ministers will be able to amend United Kingdom laws and even create new agencies and regulators to implement them if necessary.

So-called Henry VIII powers, gave the monarch the right in 1539 to make law by "proclamation", enable primary legislation to be changed or repealed without Parliament having a full say.

"What's more, Nicola Sturgeon should commit to doing the right thing for the whole of our country and support giving the British people the final say on the future of our country at the end of the negotiation process, not leaving it to politicians and bureaucrats to stitch up".

Known as the Repeal Bill, the legislation will transpose European Union law into United Kingdom law so the same rules apply on the day of Brexit as the day before, reports the BBC.

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