SNP demand seat at table with staunch Brexiteers and passionate European federalists
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A new joint parliamentary assembly (PPA) consisting of MPs from the House of Commons and MEPs from the European Parliament will be set up to oversee and scrutinise UK-EU trade relations. The new body, which will consist of 35 MEPs from the continent and 35 MPs from the UK will also be able to host parliamentary debates over some bitterly divisive Brexit related topics such as fishing rights.
Politicians will also have the power to make formal recommendations to the UK Government and European Commission on policy matters.
SNP MSP Clare Adamson, Convener of Holyrood’s Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee expressed interest in joining in a letter to Peers and MPs.
She added: “As you are aware a number of committees within the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and Welsh Senedd have raised a possible role for the devolved legislatures in the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly.
“Further to this correspondence, we are now writing to jointly request that the three devolved legislatures are formally consulted on our role prior to any final decision being made at Westminster regarding the UK delegation to the PPA.”
The Express has also learnt the move is backed by SNP-led Scottish Government ministers in Edinburgh, who hold the majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament.
A Scottish Government source added: “It’s critical the devolved administrations have a say on UK-EU relations. “
Responding to Ms Adamson’s letter, Lord Kinnoull, Chairman of the House of Lords Europe Committee, said: “All of us understand the importance of the UK’s evolving relationship with the EU, including its impact on areas of devolved competence.”
The Peer stressed the Lords and Commons would look to “establish mutually appropriate ways for this engagement to work.”
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The setting up of the assembly was initially pledged in the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, negotiated by Michel Barnier and Lord Frost.
The agreement said: “The European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom may establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly consisting of Members of the European Parliament and of Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, as a forum to exchange views on the partnership”.
However, it is yet to be determined how the assembly will function with the new body only being mentioned in a dozen lines in the Cooperation Agreement.
This also includes details on where the new body will meet as well as which politicians will sit on it.
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The UK Government said the “primary impetus from the UK side for establishing a parliamentary partnership assembly needs to come from both Houses of Parliament”.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament will draw up a list of MEPs who will be part of the assembly in the coming weeks.
Last month, MEPs voted 686 votes in favour to set up a “standing delegation” of MEPs to the assembly.
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