THIS week will prove to be one of the key constitutional moments for Scotland since the independence referendum in 2014.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Prime Minister Theresa May will attempt to reach an agreement on a Brexit dispute that has dragged on for too long.

The sticking point is simple. As a result of Brexit, swathes of powers are coming back to the UK, but many of the responsibilities are devolved matters.

Loading article content

However, the UK Government insists that 24 policy areas that fall under Holyrood’s control should be ‘held’ by Westminster until joint agreements are reached.

The stance adopted by May’s Government strikes at the heart of the devolution settlement and are nothing but a power grab by Westminster.

The solution is obvious. The powers should be handed to the Scottish Parliament, but on condition UK-wide agreements will be agreed, in order to protect the UK’s single market.

If May refuses such a course of action, Holyrood will vote against the Great Repeal Bill and her entire Brexit strategy will be jeopardised.

The wider issue is respect. Since the EU referendum, the organisation that seems to have been consulted the most on Brexit is the Tory party and its different wings.

This may not be a huge surprise - the referendum was an attempt to appease the Tory Right - but the lack of transparency surrounding Brexit is alarming.

The First Minister should stand her ground and only agree to pass the Bill once her legitimate demands are met.