DUP deal with Tories ‘breached’ rules of devolution

Scottish foreign minister frustrated at nation’s lack of input into Brexit process

Scottish foreign and cultural affairs minister Fiona Hyslop attending a British Irish Chamber of Commerce discussion on cross-channel cooperation this week.

Scottish foreign and cultural affairs minister Fiona Hyslop attending a British Irish Chamber of Commerce discussion on cross-channel cooperation this week.

 

The rules of devolution in the UK have been “breached” by the DUP’s billion-pound deal with the Tory Government, the Scottish foreign and cultural affairs minister Fiona Hyslop has said.

The DUP’s relationship with the Conservatives at Westminister and the confidence and supply agreement was “deeply worrying for a number of reasons,” she said.

She said that the lack of Scottish input into the British government’s approach to Brexit was “extremely frustrating”.

Acknowledging that the Scottish government did not have a “real involvement” in the formulation of the British government’s Brexit policy, Ms Hyslop said that helping the UK find the “least worst” exit, was a “shared agenda with Ireland. ”

Ms Hyslop was in Dublin this week for a series of engagements in cultural institutions and she also met the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister of State for Europe Helen McEntee.

The meeting with Mr Coveney focussed on the challenges of Brexit, Ms Hyslop told The Irish Times.

She said “63 per cent of Scots voted for remain and even those who voted for leave didn’t vote for a hard Brexit - leaving the single market, coming out of the customs union”.

Reset

“I think the general election has provided the opportunity for a reset for the UK with the EU 27 and the Commission,” she said, “but also an opportunity for a reset with the devolved administrations.”

Asked if there was any sign of a new willingness from the Westminster government to engage with the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Ms Hyslop said: “It’s hopeful. We’re in a better place than we were before the election.”

She acknowledged that Scotland’s position in the Brexit negotiations would be represented by the UK government but said there was no sign yet that the interests of Scotland were being considered in the talks.

However, she said that Scotland’s interests were more concerned with the future relationship phase of the talks between the UK and the EU.

The Scottish Government is keen, Ms Hyslop said, to foster continuing relationships with the Irish Government, and to ensure that they go beyond the subject of Brexit.

On Scottish independence, Ms Hyslop said that “There will be referendum. It’s just the timescale has changed.”

The Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said in May that she would postpone further moves towards another independence referendum until after the shape of Brexit became clear. Her party-and Ms Hyslop’s - suffered significant seat losses in the recent British general election, though it remains in power in the devolved administration in Edinburgh.