The devolved administrations will be offered the chance of a direct line to the Brexit secretary to allow them to help shape the UK’s EU exit strategy.
Prime Minister Theresa May will make the offer of a new official forum, to be chaired by David Davis, to the leaders of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments today.
It follows the pledge the Prime Minister made in her first weeks in office that she was fully committed to engaging with the devolved administrations as the government delivers on the verdict of the UK people in their vote to leave the EU.
In the first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee for 2 years, the Prime Minister will say the government is ready to listen to proposals put forward by political leaders from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as she renegotiates the UK’s relationship with the EU.
She has made clear that strategies taken forward must protect and advance the needs of all people.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
I am determined that as we make a success of our exit from the European Union, we in turn further strengthen our own enduring union.
The great union between us has been the cornerstone of our prosperity in the past – and it is absolutely vital to our success in the future.
The country is facing a negotiation of tremendous importance and it is imperative that the devolved administrations play their part in making it work.
The new forum I am offering will be the chance for them all to put forward their proposals on how to seize the opportunities presented by Brexit and deliver the democratic decision expressed by the people of the UK.
If the devolved governments accept the offer of formal discussions, a new sub-committee of the Joint Ministerial Committee will be established, chaired by David Davis and attended by nominees put forward by the devolved governments.
The Prime Minister will offer a first meeting by the end of November and at least one more by Christmas as negotiations progress before Article 50 is triggered by the end of March.
She is also set to discuss the government’s position on the EU exit strategy. The Prime Minister is expected to say that, contrary to some speculation, no final decisions have been taken and that how the UK leaves the EU will not boil down to a binary choice.
And she will tell Nicola Sturgeon, Carwyn Jones, Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness that she and Brexit secretary David Davis will listen to any proposals made.
David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland, Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales and James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will be attending the Joint Ministerial Committee.
The new forum for government discussion, to be known as the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations), will place the devolved administrations on a formal footing for discussions and allow them to voice the views of the governments they lead as negotiations progress.