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CN Briefing: Brexit; David Davis; Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

If a hotline between Brexit secretary David Davis and the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland wasn’t enough, Westminster is cranking up its charm offensive to keep a fractured United Kingdom together.

Mr Davis pledged today to share the government’s “latest thinking” on Brexit with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before hosting the first forum on the UK’s exit from the EU.

The EU negotiation joint ministerial committee was held today, with Scottish and Welsh ministers attending talks.

Mr Davis promised monthly meetings with devolved governments – no doubt to appease Scotland after first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the country would wade into the Brexit legal case over MPs’ right to vote on Article 50.

But it looks like Mr Davis’ sweet-talking is falling on deaf ears north of the border.

The Scottish Government’s minister for Brexit negotiations Michael Russell called for greater clarity over its intentions around the single market and the customs union.

For the construction industry, this call for transparency over EU negotiations will be met with enthusiastic nodding.

While uncertainty over Brexit persists, so does foreign investors’ uncertainty over whether to invest in projects in the UK – bad news if the industry wants to maintain a healthy pipeline.

It will be interesting to see the influence of devolved governments in the UK’s negotiations with the EU.

In the meantime, we can only wait and see just how far Mr Davis will go to keep Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland sweet – it may take more than the traditional hamper of muffins to appease the suits in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

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