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Scottish and UK ministers have ‘heated’ Brexit talks

Russell Mundell
Image caption Mike Russell and David Mundell had “full and frank” exchanges at a meeting in London

There have been “heated exchanges” between Scottish and UK ministers over Brexit at a summit in London.

The row over migration policy came at the latest meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council, between ministers from the UK and devolved governments.

Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell told BBC Scotland there had been a “dialogue of the deaf” on immigration.

But Scottish Secretary David Mundell said despite “frank” exchanges, the talks had been a useful exercise.

The talks in London were also attended by representatives of the Welsh government.

Image copyright PA

The Scottish government has called for more powers over immigration to be devolved to Holyrood, as a result of stark policy differences with the UK administration.

The UK government does not want to have “regional” policies around the country.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Russell said there had been “heated” discussions.

‘Full and frank’

He said: “This is not a successful venture, and its not a venture that can do anything other than end in tears.

“There is an absolute determination to end freedom of movement even in circumstances that will be economically disastrous for Scotland. I pointed that out very forcibly indeed, as indeed all of us from devolved administrations did.

“I have to say it was a bit of a dialogue of the deaf, although I suspect they have not heard that put as strongly and trenchantly for a long time.”

Mr Mundell said it was not a surprise that “frank” views had been exchanged, with the two sides holding very different policies.

He said: “I think its difficult for the Scottish government to occasionally argue that there’s no engagement, and then on other occasions say we had a heated discussion.

“Of course we had a full and frank exchange of views. That’s not a surprise – the Scottish government is not in favour of leaving the EU and they also advocate a devolved immigration policy. I don’t support there being a regional policy in Scotland and neither does business.”

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