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Secretary of State for Scotland: Discussions

Volume 653: debated on Thursday 24 January 2019

3. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Scotland on the UK leaving the EU. (908747)

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues and has discussed EU exit with the Secretary of State for Scotland on a number of occasions, including at the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU negotiations, the most recent meeting of which was on 19 December. We also regularly engage with the Scottish Government, including through the Ministerial Forum on EU negotiations, and I look forward to attending the next meeting of that in Edinburgh next week.

I thank the Minister for his response. Thousands of jobs in my constituency and beyond rely on programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus and the freedom of movement on which universities depend. Given the short timescales, what reassurance can he give to universities that those programmes will continue and that we can fully participate in them?

The hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point. I have met a number of the Scottish universities to discuss that issue. It is right that universities in Scotland and across the UK are at the forefront of programmes such as Horizon 2020, which is why we have negotiated a deal that specifically envisages participation in them. We have had a positive reaction from the European Union to that. Of course, we need to secure the deal in order to secure the next round of talks and ensure we can take that forward. In the meantime, the Government have guaranteed Horizon funding until the end of the current multi-annual financial framework.

Has the Secretary of State for Scotland told the Minister whether he supports the statement from other Scottish Tory MPs, none of whom could be bothered to be here today, that they will try to block any attempt to include Scottish Government representatives in future negotiations with the EU?

The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union have been clear that we are committed to giving the devolved Administrations, including the Scottish Government, an enhanced role in the next phase of negotiations. My Scottish Conservative colleagues have been strong champions of the devolution settlement and Scotland’s place in the Union.