The UK government has set out a plan to overhaul “outdated” EU laws copied over after Brexit – a move it says will cut £1bn of red tape for businesses.
Downing Street said a Brexit Freedoms Bill will change how Parliament can amend or remove thousands of EU-era regulations that remain in force.
Boris Johnson said the move would “unleash the benefits of Brexit” and make British business more competitive but the plan was criticised by the devolved administrations.
A source said Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish ministers believe the plans undermine the devolution settlement.
They added that a meeting between the Attorney General Suella Braverman and devolved ministers on Saturday was “last-minute, fractious, and cack-handed”.
The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution Angus Robertson said: “This makes a mockery of the UK government’s recent commitment to reset relationships with the devolved governments.”
According to Mick Antoniw, the Welsh Minister for the Constitution, the UK government was driving a “coach and horses through the concept of mutual consent”.
The UK government said it would “continue to work closely with the devolved administrations”.
The UK copied over the laws to smooth its exit from the EU on 31 January 2020, and kept them during a transition period that ended in January 2021.
Since September, the government has been reviewing which of these it wants to keep in place, ditch or amend.
Under Brexit withdrawal legislation passed in 2018, retained EU laws have a legal status of their own – and a special process for changing them.
In an announcement for the two-year anniversary of the UK’s exit from the EU, No 10 said its new bill would ensure changes can be made more easily.
The prime minister said: “The plans we have set out today will further unleash the benefits of Brexit and ensure that businesses can spend more of their money investing, innovating and creating jobs.”