THERE was disagreement over exactly how much progress was made yesterday when ministers from the Scottish, Welsh and UK Governments met for the first time in eight months to discuss the Tory Brexit repeal Bill.

Damian Green, who is effectively Theresa May’s deputy prime minister, said the impasse had been broken and that talk of a power grab was now “behind us”.

But Scottish Brexit Minister Michael Russell and Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford disagreed, saying the Tory minister had not yet taken the threat of a power grab off the table.

The EU Withdrawal Bill converts European law into British law, and means powers devolved by Brussels will go straight to London, who will then decide what has to stay in a UK framework and what gets devolved to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

The Scottish and Welsh governments say all powers from Brussels that relate to a devolved competence, like farming or fishing, should automatically go straight back to their respective parliaments.

In a joint statement when the Bill was published, the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers called the legislation a “naked power grab” and “an attack on the founding principles of devolution”.

At yesterday’s meeting, the governments agreed a compromise that will see them all involved in the discussion over what stays in the UK framework and what gets devolved to the parliaments.

The agreed principles include a commitment that any common framework will “respect the devolution settlements and the democratic accountability of the devolved legislatures” and that it will “lead to a significant increase in decision-making powers for the devolved administrations”, and ensure that the competence of the devolved governments will not “normally” be adjusted without their consent.

Green said: “I think you will see from principles that we have agreed today that talk of a power grab is now behind us.

“We’ve agreed that obviously there need to be ways in which we preserve the UK single market so we don’t damage businesses in Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland.

“But [also] that we fully respect the devolution settlements, that we expect this to end with more powers going to the devolved administrations than they have had under the previous arrangement.”

Russell said he was still not in a position to ask the Scottish Parliament to back the Bill when, by convention, they are asked to give their consent.

Technically, however, the Bill does not need Holyrood’s approval, and the UK Government can override the Scottish Parliament’s decision.

Russell said: “Today’s Joint Ministerial Committee meeting was a tale of two halves. We have been able to make some progress, including agreeing general principles that should ensure the role of the Scottish Parliament in any potential UK or GB-wide frameworks.

“However we remain unable to recommend the Scottish Parliament consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill as currently drafted and will not be able to do so until the power grab is removed from the Bill.

“I have and will continue to press for the amendments suggested by ourselves and the Welsh Government to be accepted, removing the power grab and providing a clear solution that respects devolution.”

He added:“When it comes to negotiations between the UK and EU on Brexit, I have made clear that no deal is not an option that the Scottish Government can or ever will support.”

Drakeford said the agreement “doesn’t mean that we have stepped back at all from our opposition to the Withdrawal Bill”.

He said: “We’ve never disagreed with what was trying to be achieved. But, we’ve always said that the way to do that is by agreement – by getting round the table, sharing responsibilities and finding ways forward to which everyone is committed.”