MEMBERS of a powerful cross-party committee of MPs have urged Theresa May to respond formally “as a matter of urgency” to Scotland’s demands for a bespoke Brexit deal.

The demand was a key recommendation put forward in their report examining how the UK Government has consulted with the devolved nations and how its EU negotiating priorities are shaping up.

It comes amid criticisms from Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland has been treated with “contempt” in the Brexit process.

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And the Committee on Exiting the European Union appeared to confirm her criticism, saying: “We recommend that the UK Government respond formally to the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland legislatures regarding each of their options papers. It must do so as a matter of urgency, given that negotiations to leave the EU will start imminently.”

The call was welcomed by Peter Grant, an SNP member of the committee, who said the report drew attention to a “lack of engagement” with the devolved administrations over the process of leaving the EU.

“The report recognises the lack of engagement and respect by the UK Government towards devolved administrations and on the compromise paper put forward by the Scottish Government, which has fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

Sturgeon’s Scotland in Europe paper was published in December and set out ways to allow Scotland to remain in the single market even if the rest of the UK left it. Her proposals also involved greater powers being handed to Holyrood, including immigration and employment laws.

More than three months later no formal response has been given, though there have been indications from the UK Government that it would not agree to the proposals.

The was also no mention that the Scottish Government was seeking a differentiated Brexit arrangement in Theresa May’s Article 50 letter sent to Donald Tusk last Wednesday, as Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell had demanded.

The report by the Commons committee on exiting the EU also asserts that the Prime Minister will use Brexit to rewrite the devolution settlement – strengthening Westminster at the expense of Holyrood.

The issue is a key source of dispute between Edinburgh and London and would mean May having the power to legislate in future on Scottish agriculture payments, fisheries quotas and renewable energy targets.

Scottish ministers insist such powers must go to Holyrood, and anything less would breach the founding text of devolution, the 1998 Scotland Act, which says powers are automatically devolved unless specifically reserved to Westminster.

However, the White Paper for the Great Repeal Bill, which converts EU legislation into UK law, said this would not happen, as there was a need to ensure “the effective functioning of the UK single market”.

Sturgeon responded last week by threatening to derail the Bill, describing it as a “power grab” that would strip Holyrood of its authority.

The Brexit committee report confirmed May would pursue such a course of action.

“All three devolution settlements currently set out that the devolved competence must be exercised compatibly with EU law. The effect of this is that, for a devolved policy such as agriculture, devolved administrations have the power to legislate and determine policies, but only within the framework provided by EU legislation,” the report said.

“The government will need to remove this requirement, assuming there are no relevant regulatory equivalence clauses in the final deal, from the Devolution Acts when the UK leaves the EU and EU powers are repatriated to the UK.

“However, for some policy areas there is likely to be a need to create a new UK framework, for example, so as to ensure compatibility with wider UK trade policies and to ensure that there are no new barriers to living and doing business within the UK.

“The policy area discussed most often in evidence was agriculture, but we were told that there would also be questions raised around fisheries, the environment, and potentially also specific parts of some other policy areas.”

The committee also warned that May’s claim that “no deal” would be better than a bad deal is “unsubstantiated”.

It backed the finding of a previous report by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee that a “no deal” scenario “represents a very destructive outcome leading to mutually assured damage for the EU and the UK”.

The committee called on the UK Government and EU to reach a “stand-alone and separate” deal on the rights of expatriate citizens as soon as negotiations start, warning it would be “unconscionable” to make three million EU nationals in the UK and one million Britons living on the continent wait until the end of the Article 50 process for certainty about their status.

It also urged ministers to seek a “passporting” agreement to allow cross-border financial services following Brexit, and said the government should agree to a phased implementation of new arrangements for the sector.