THE TORIES have been accused of trying to “disguise a power grab” after Ministers in London claimed Scotland was on course for 111 extra responsibilities after Brexit.

The UK Government will today publish a white paper – a consultation on proposed legislation – with details of what they want to happen to powers previously held by the European Union which head back to the UK on January 1 when the transition period ends.

Ministers in London say the resulting legislation will underpin the UK’s “internal market” and hand extra responsibilities to the three devolved assemblies.

As this could lead to different regulatory regimes in the UK the Government has drawn up a trade bill to underpin the “internal market”.

At the heart of that is a “mutual recognition” mechanism. This would see regulations in one part of the UK recognised in all the other nations.

That terrifies ministers in Edinburgh who believe that regime could ultimately lead to lower standards in food safety and environmental protections being imposed in Scotland.

But UK business Secretary Alok Sharma said the new regime system ”will help the most successful political and economic union of nations in the world” thrive.

He added: “This plan protects jobs and livelihoods. Without these necessary reforms, the way we trade goods and services between the home nations could be seriously impacted, harming the way we do business within our own borders.

“Ensuring businesses will be able to continue trading freely across all four corners of the UK, without the burden of inconsistent regulation or additional costs will be essential as we fight up our economic engines, as we recover from coronavirus.”

The UK Government have said Brexit will mean new powers for MSPs on public procurement, air quality, maritime legislation, energy efficiency and water quality.

Russell, the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for Constitutional Relations wasn’t having any of it: “This is an outrageous attempt to disguise a power grab that will strip power from the Scottish Parliament and put the Scottish people, environment and economy at risk,” he said last night.

“This is one of the most significant threats to devolution yet, even eclipsing previous UK Government attempts in this area.”

He said the “so-called ‘new powers’” were in areas that are already devolved, and included matters such as food safety, animal and plant health and environmental standards.

Russell added: “While ‘mutual recognition’ of standards and ‘regime across all areas of non-discrimination’ may sound innocent, what they disguise is a mechanism that will enable the UK Government to impose lower standards on Scotland – for example in food safety and environmental protections – as it seeks to achieve trade deals with countries outside the EU.

“The system would require regulatory standards in one part of the UK to be automatically accepted in the others, regardless of whether those standards are lower than those the Scottish Parliament might find acceptable. Our world-class reputation for high-quality food and drink would suffer from these proposals as the UK Government embarks on a race to the bottom – to the huge detriment of people and businesses across Scotland.”

Yesterday in parliament, Boris Johnson was accused of having a “hostile agenda” against devolution.

Ian Blackford made the remark after the Prime Minister claimed Brexit would lead to “possibly the single biggest act of devolution”.