Category Archives: News

Decontamination Work Complete At Maltings Site In Salisbury

Today, we can confirm that the decontamination efforts at the Maltings site in Salisbury are complete

The Maltings, Salisbury

The Maltings, Salisbury

This follows on-going clean-up operations to remove any potential residual contamination following the nerve agent attack on 4 March 2018.

The site was visited by specialist teams and any items that may have harboured residual amounts of the agent were removed. All waste has been removed and will be disposed of safely.

A Defra spokesperson said: “Following extensive clean-up operations in Salisbury to remove any potential residual contamination resulting from the nerve agent attack on 4 March, decontamination work is now complete at the Maltings.

“The site will now be handed back to Wiltshire Council, who will decide when it is appropriate to release it back into public use.”

EU (Withdrawal) Bill: Vital For UK Market And Respects Devolution

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill, currently before the UK Parliament, fully respects the UK’s devolution settlements

Scottish Parliament

Scottish Parliament

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has responded to the report of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee on whether to provide a Legislative Consent Motion to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

He said:

We have worked hard over the past year to secure the support of the Scottish Parliament and have put a considerable offer on the table that would see the vast majority of devolved powers automatically flow from the EU to Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

While it is disappointing that a majority of MSPs on the Committee recommended that the Scottish Parliament does not give the EU (Withdrawal) Bill legislative consent, the decision is ultimately for individual parliamentarians and we remain hopeful that they will back this important piece of legislation.

Mr Mundell said that he was grateful to the Committee for its time and contribution to the debate, and welcomed the Committee’s support for a number of changes the Government has made to the EUWB (including amendments that protect the Scotland Act 1998 from modification).

Through the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, the vast majority of EU powers in devolved areas will go straight from Brussels to Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff when we leave the EU. A small number of specific policy areas will be frozen while we design and implement new common arrangements. This will give essential certainty to businesses at the point we leave the EU and protect the vital UK common market.

Mr Mundell added:

We are clear our approach fully respects devolution, as the Welsh Government has confirmed. We still hope the Scottish Government will come on board, even at this late stage. Our door remains open.

Protecting The Vital UK Common Market – David Lidington Speech

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, David Lidington MP, has said the “door is still open” for the Scottish Government to provide certainty for Scottish companies

The Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP

The Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Lidington MP today [Friday 11 May] used a major business speech in Edinburgh to call on the Scottish Government to back the EU (Withdrawal) Bill next week, and provide Scottish businesses with the same certainty and clarity as companies in other parts of the UK.

Speaking at a CBI Scotland lunch in the Scottish capital, Mr Lidington said that the “door is still open” for the Scottish Government to sign up to the agreement that has already been reached with Welsh Government and “end any question of lingering legal uncertainty for businesses in all parts of the UK”.

The Minister told the business audience that common UK frameworks will be required in certain areas to help companies all across the UK to do business in all parts of the UK. He will also say that respecting and preserving the UK common market underpins our existence as a union and that any attempt to undermine it would be a “self-inflicted blow” on thousands of Scottish companies.

Mr Lidington said:

It is only by maintaining the coherence of the common UK market – and keeping barriers to trade within it to an absolute minimum – that businesses and consumers in all parts of our union can continue to benefit.

Preserving the common market is exactly what the EU Withdrawal Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, will do.

Put simply, respecting and preserving the United Kingdom common market is to uphold one of the fundamental expressions of the constitutional integrity that underpins our existence as a union.

But put even more simply, any attempt to undermine that common market would represent a self-inflicted blow to the thousands of firms who owe their prosperity to its success.

I am well aware from the conversations I have had with businesses in Scotland and Wales – and indeed Northern Ireland – that what they care about is what all this means for business and whether it provides the certainty they need.

That is why all of us – Westminster, Cardiff and Holyrood – have worked hard to identify only those absolutely essential areas where we agree that UK-wide frameworks are needed and it is worth underlining that we already have UK-wide frameworks in all these areas right now.

So it is also why it is disappointing that the Scottish Government still does not feel able to sign up to our proposals and deliver that certainty for businesses.

Of course, it is rightly for the Scottish Parliament to now decide what view it wants to take on the compromise we have reached, and that we have now agreed with the Welsh Government.

So that is why I say to the Scottish Government: the door is still open.

At a stroke, they can join the Welsh Government – who have also put so much into getting us to this stage – and recommend to the Parliament here in Holyrood that we should end any lingering question of legal uncertainty for businesses in all parts of the UK,

But no matter what, I want to reiterate that the UK Government is committed to acting in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement that – even now at this late stage – is open to the Scottish Government to sign up to.

Scottish businesses can see this in black and white: our Intergovernmental Agreement is public for all to see.

You can have that certainty and clarity that we will work to agree the approach needed to protect our vital common market and that we will respect – in full – the devolution settlements as we do so.

The full text of the speech is here. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill returns to the House of Lords next week [Wednesday 16 May) for its third reading.

Under Secretary Andrea L. Thompson Travels To France And The United Kingdom

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea L. Thompson will travel to Paris, France, and London, the United Kingdom May 14-18, 2018.

On May 15, Under Secretary Thompson will head the U.S. delegation for the 2018 Fifteenth Anniversary Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) High Level Political Meeting (HLPM) in Paris, France. This meeting will provide the 105 endorsers of the initiative with an opportunity to review the accomplishments of the last fifteen years, leverage those accomplishments to further focus the Initiative’s efforts to interdict transfers of WMD- and missile-related items, and provide strategic direction for the next years of activity. It will send a message of PSI to proliferators “that we are watching and will act to stop you, whether at sea, in the air, or on land.”

On May 18, she will represent the United States at the Ministerial Meeting of the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons in Paris. The Partnership ministerial will address chemical weapons use by States and non-State actors in recent years, in addition to actions the Partnership can take to contribute to the attribution and deterrence of future use.

Under Secretary Thompson will also hold bilateral discussions on a range of arms control and nonproliferation issues.

For more information, follow Under Secretary Thompson’s activities on Twitter @UnderSecT.

Scottish Secretary Visits Islay To Remember WW1 Losses

The Secretary of State visited Islay on the 4th May to join the W100 Scotland National Day of Remembrance service at Port Ellen War Memorial

Secretary of State visited Islay

Secretary of State visited Islay

Mr Mundell was there to remember the island’s contribution to World War One and the loss of two British troop ships carrying American soldiers to fight alongside the Allies.

The sinking of SS TUSCANIA (5 February 1918) and HMS OTRANTO (6 October 1918) off the island’s coast, saw around 700 US servicemen and British crew members lose their lives. Over 200 Islay and Jura men died during World War One.

Mr Mundell joined descendants, locals and dignitaries including HRH The Princess Royal, Scottish Government Minister Fiona Hyslop, and United States Ambassador to the UK, Robert Wood Johnson at the service.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said:

It is right and fitting that, one hundred years on, we reflect on the terrible loss of these two vessels, with such enormous loss of life, off the coast of Islay.

Many thousands of American and British servicemen lost their lives protecting Europe against fascism, and they have our enormous gratitude. That loss was felt keenly on Islay, where every family in every village lost brothers, fathers and sons in the conflict. We must never forget their service and their sacrifice.

The war service of the people of Islay was never more apparent than on those two days in 1918, when the islanders made huge efforts to help survivors – saving lives and looking after those men like their own.

We all have a duty to tell the stories of those who lived and fought in WW1, to keep the memories of them and their sacrifice alive. It has been particularly moving to hear the personal stories of both American and Scottish descendants of service personnel, and those involved in the rescue effort. I am very honoured to be able to pay tribute to Islay, its people and its history at this service at Port Ellen.

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