Growing concern at Holyrood that the devolved nations are not being consulted on post-Brexit farming policy has prompted Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing to look for support from his counterparts in Wales and Ireland.
In a letter to the other administrations Mr Ewing sets out the need for a unified position on matters no longer subject to EU law, which are currently the responsibility of the devolved governments such as farming, fisheries and environmental protection.
Mr Ewing said it was clear repatriated powers in these areas would be the responsibility of Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast as now and insisted the devolved governments needed to speak with a united voice to protect their interests.
At last week’s annual meeting of the farmers’ union both First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson predicted a looming row over which government would control agricultural policy post-Brexit. Mr Ewing later revealed that a meeting arranged with Defra minister George Eustice to discuss a framework for farming policy had been cancelled at the last moment.
Mr Ewing’s letter sets out the Scottish Government’s belief that the UK Government is not listening to the devolved administrations on matters linked to rural policy as it seeks new UK frameworks to replace those currently provided by membership of the EU.
He said: “I believe Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland share the same position that full responsibility for the agriculture sector will sit with devolved administrations following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as now.
“That is why I have written to my counterparts in the other devolved governments calling for a united voice in discussions with the UK Government. This can help secure the best possible outcome for the industry across the UK.”