Brexit’s ef­fect ‘pro­found and un­pre­dictable’

Lesotho Times - - International -

LON­DON — Brexit poses a fun­da­men­tal chal­lenge to the fu­ture of the United King­dom by re­mov­ing the Euro­pean Union law that has helped to bind it to­gether, a com­mit­tee of law­mak­ers from the Bri­tish par­lia­ment’s up­per house said on Wed­nes­day.

Last year’s vote to leave the EU has high­lighted ten­sions among the United King­dom’s four con­stituent na­tions: Eng­land and Wales voted to leave, Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land to re­main.

It has prompted re­newed calls from Scot­tish na­tion­al­ists for a vote on in­de­pen­dence, and mem­bers of the Scot­tish, Welsh and North­ern Ir­ish gov­ern­ments have com­plained the na­tional gov­ern­ment has not in­volved them enough its Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tion prepa­ra­tions.

“Brexit’s im­pact on the fu­ture of the United King­dom will be pro­found and un­pre­dictable. At the mo­ment, the in­ter­nal pol­i­tics are pretty toxic,” said Michael Jay, a mem­ber of the Lords EU com­mit­tee and for­mer head of Bri­tain’s diplo­matic ser­vice.

The com­mit­tee’s re­port “Brexit: de­vo­lu­tion”, said the supremacy of EU law and its in­ter­pre­ta­tion by the EU’S Court of Jus­tice have helped en­sure con­sis­tency of le­gal and regulatory stan­dards across the United King­dom’s in­ter­nal mar­ket.

“Brexit thus presents fun­da­men­tal con­sti­tu­tional chal­lenges to the United King­dom as a whole,” the re­port said. It called on the gov­ern­ment to set aside party pol­i­tics and ad­just its Brexit ap­proach to ac­com­mo­date the needs of the dif- fer­ent re­gions.

It also said Brexit would lead to a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in pow­ers and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for lo­cal in­sti­tu­tions in the three de­volved na­tions, in ar­eas such as fish­eries and agri­cul­ture. Any at­tempt at a “power grab” by ei­ther side would only add to in­sta­bil­ity, it said.

Scot­land’s gov­ern­ing Scot­tish Na­tional Party has threat­ened to try to block the progress of key leg­is­la­tion that will sever le­gal ties with the EU un­less the gov­ern­ment does more to ac­count for Scot­land’s in­ter-

ests in Brexit.

The Lords’ re­port said that if the Uk-wide Brexit agree­ment does not ad­e­quately re­flect Scot­land’s needs, a strong po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic case can be made for mak­ing dif­fer­en­ti­ated ar­range­ments for Scot­land.

“The UK Gov­ern­ment must re­spect the de­volved in­sti­tu­tions. It’s not enough say­ing it’s lis­ten­ing to them, it’s ac­tu­ally got to take ac­count of what they say and ad­just its ap­proach to ac­com­mo­date their spe­cific needs,” Jay said.

“Equally, the de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions must work with, not against, the UK gov­ern­ment to get the best Brexit for the whole of the UK.”

— Reuters

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