Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
1 November 2016

Hilary Benn urged to hold Brexit select committee hearings in devolved nations

MPs from devolved nations have demanded representation. 

By Julia Rampen

Representatives of the devolved nations may have found tea at Downing Street less than fruitful, but they have now spotted a new entrance into Brexit negotiations.

MPs from the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the rival Northern Irish parties the DUP and SDLP, have written to the new chair of the Brexit committee, Hilary Benn, demanding a platform.

In the letter, the MPs call for evidence sessions to be held in each of the devolved nations. 

Despite “different views on specific issues”, the MPs said there was “a common interest” in ensuring devolved administrations were respected.

It stated: “The Committee on Exiting the EU will be crucial to ensuring that there is scrutiny of how the Prime Minister is implementing her commitment to involve the devolved administrations and of the discussions that she has with them.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

“We therefore write to you to ask you to ensure that the new Committee will examine these important issues, including by holding evidence sessions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

The letter was signed by the SNP MPs Joanna Cherry and Peter Grant, Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson and the SDLP’s Mark Durkan. 

Select committees are made up of cross-party MPs and conduct inquiries which can put pressure on the government to act, and the newly-formed Brexit select committee is likely to be one of the most crucial in the years ahead. 

Nevertheless, it may be the devolved administrations themselves that form the biggest obstacle to Brexit.

This is not just because Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain, but because the parliaments were set up after the UK joined the EU, and were created in the framework of EU legislation. 

Dr Jo Murkens, a law professor from the London School of Economics, told the Scottish Affairs Committee in September: “If I can put it bluntly, the EU is what has been keeping the United Kingdom together.”