THE UK Government has “reversed” its approach to the flagship Brexit Bill to place the centre of political gravity on Scottish matters at Holyrood rather than at Westminster in a bid to allay completely any fears of a “power-grab” and secure MSPs’ key support for the legislation.

Nicola Sturgeon and her Brexit Minister Michael Russell have continually complained that the bill as it stands undermines the devolved settlement in that powers coming from Brussels after Brexit Day will only go to Holyrood after first being processed by Whitehall.

Concerns from SNP and Labour politicians about a “power-grab” have also been echoed by Scottish Conservatives.

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The opposition of the Nationalist Government has raised the prospect that, if the bill were not fundamentally changed, then MSPs would not give their consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

After the UK Government failed, somewhat embarrassingly, to amend Clause 11 of the legislation, which deals with Brexit and devolution, it will now seek to change it in the House of Lords.

Peers, who will consider the bill in detail later this month, tabling hundreds of amendments, have warned they will block it unless so-called Legislative Consent Motions[LCMs] are granted by Holyrood and Cardiff Bay. A move by the Lords not to pass the legislation would spark a major constitutional crisis.

But now The Herald has been told that the UK Government, faced with increasing cross-party pressure, has agreed to the fundamental change the First Minister and others have sought.

One source close to the process explained: “Officials working on Clause 11 are now moving to a phase where they put the powers more directly into the hands of the devolved administrations; reversing where Clause 11 actually started from but enabling the UK Government to put in appropriate safeguards to protect the internal market as and when they are required. This is of fundamental importance.”

The vast majority of the 111 powers and responsibilities coming from Brussels after Brexit Day will go immediately to Holyrood but others will need common UK frameworks to protect the internal market. It now appears that the context of these frameworks, as far as Scotland is concerned, will be Edinburgh rather than London.

UK ministers, who believe the exchange between officials of both governments has been going well, have become increasingly frustrated of late by the negative tone of Scottish ministers.

Comments following a recent meeting between David Lidington, the Cabinet Office Minister and Theresa May’s de facto deputy, and John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, illustrated the point with London describing the bilateral as “constructive” with progress having been made but Edinburgh dismissing it as “very frustrating”.

The administration in Edinburgh has now begun the process of passing a Continuity Bill, so that if an LCM were not granted to the EU Withdrawal Bill, then Scotland's system of laws would be protected from the disruption of Brexit. However, it is suggested that any implementation of a Continuity Act would be challenged by the UK Government in the courts.

While UK ministers remain confident that their moves to allay Edinburgh’s concerns will lead to MSPs giving their consent, Whitehall is fearful that Ms Sturgeon and Mr Russell are boxing themselves into a constitutional corner that could mean Holyrood would fail to give its consent.

It is believed that in the next few days the UK Government will put out evidence of how significantly it has moved its position to accommodate the concerns of the SNP administration and others.

A meeting of the intergovernmental Joint Ministerial Committee to push the process forward has been pencilled in for the end of the month; the amended Clause 11 is due to be published after this meeting. A full plenary session of the JMC, chaired by the Prime Minister, is expected before Easter.