The Repatriation of Competences in Agriculture after Brexit

Michael Keating

Research output: Book/ReportOther Report


A number of key competences are currently devolved within the United Kingdom but subject to European law and regulation. There is an argument over what will happen to these after Brexit. The EU Withdrawal Bill initially proposed that the powers come back to Westminster as part of ‘retained EU law’. Some could subsequently be released to the devolved governments. These would continue to enjoy as much policy freedom as they do currently under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Scottish and Welsh Governments opposed this on constitutional and practical grounds. The final Withdrawal Act provides that only some competences come back to Westminster for a limited period. Agreement has now been reached on the need for some common UK frameworks but not on what form these should take. They may be legislative or non-legislative. Nothing has been decided on the allocation of agricultural spending after Brexit.This paper reviews the current scope and practice of policy divergence and convergence under the CAP. It examines the issues over which common policies and harmonization might be needed. These depend to a great extent on future trade agreements with the EU and other states and on decisions on English policy. It considers the future of agricultural funding and the possible ways in which it might be distributed after Brexit. These are not purely technical matters but also matters of political judgement on the purpose of agricultural spending and ideas about rural policy, which differ across the UK
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCentre on Constitutional Change
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Michael Keating is Professor of Politics at the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh and Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change.

The work on which this paper is based is supported by the ESRC UK in a Changing Europe programme


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