SNP MP Joanna Cherry has taken the Brexit Secretary to task over the lack of clarity around his department's contact with the Scottish and Welsh governments about the progression of Brexit negotiations. 

During a meeting of the Exiting the European Union Committee, Cherry repeatedly asked Stephen Barclay to explain Westminster's engagement with the devolved administrations, adding "is my suspicion that there has been none".

She hit out at the Government for keeping the Democratic Unionist Party and European Research Group - two groups whose votes are needed in order to pass any new Brexit agreement in the Commons - up to date, while failing to do the same for Scottish ministers.

Cherry said: “You see we’ve seen the DUP and the ERG being in and out of Downing Street this week being kept apprised of how things are progressing. I’d like to know whether youre able to tell us whether there has been any ministerial engagement with either my colleagues in the Scottish Government or the welsh government about the progress of these negotiations this week.

"Because the public can see that the DUP and the ERG are being closely advised – but so far as I am aware the Scottish government and the welsh government, democratically elected by the people of Scotland and wales, are out of the loop.

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"I realise you’ve been backwards and forwards to Luxembourg but I think you would agree with me it would be quite a serious matter if the DUP and ERG were in the loop, but the Scottish and the Welsh governments were not in the loop.”

The QC then asked Barclay to produce a letter with confirmation of all that she had asked about. The Brexit Secretary replied to say a scheduled call had been postponed, but UK ministers had been in Edinburgh within the last week.

Cherry was not satisfied with the response. She continued: "The DUP and the ERG were in and out of 10 Downing Street. I’m not talking about last week. We all know things have moved quite fast this week. A bit like a yo-yo, right enough, but you’re being very clear there’s been important developments this week.

"So I’m not really interested in what happened last week. I’m not interested in the fact that a very junior minister phoned the Scottish Government at the last minute on Monday morning to say what was in the Queen’s Speech. What I want to know is what engagement there has been with the Scottish and Welsh governments about the progress of the negotiations this week. It is my suspicion that there has been none.

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"And I’d like you to be able to put my mind at rest that there has been some. Now I accept that you’ve been travelling backwards and forwards and may not be able to answer that question – but it would be good if you could answer it at a later date. Because I think voters in Scotland and Wales would be keen to know that their governments have been kept apprised of what’s going on in terms of your department’s responsibilities."

The National: Stephen Barclay struggled to answer the MP's questionsStephen Barclay struggled to answer the MP's questions

Barclay said he would be "happy" to provide an update. He went on to add: "One of the things also that we have been doing as part of the increased engagement with both the Scottish and Welsh governments is changing the ways that officials engage in order to actually facilitate much more transparency in terms of the situation."

Cherry continued her line of questioning, asking plainly "whether you or your department have been in contact with the democratically elected governments of Scotland and Wales – minister to minister".

Barclay gave another jumbled reply, eventually promising to give more details on the negotiations later. In terms of precisely what conversations in the contents of the negotiations I will ensure we get some clarity to you on that."

The DUP and Tory Brexiteers have been in and out of Downing Street this week to learn of the negotiations between the EU and UK, which have gone into overdrive ahead of tomorrow's EU summit. These groups previously voted against Theresa May's withdrawal agreement.

Any deal struck in Brussels would need the backing of the Commons to become law ahead of the Brexit deadline of October 31.