Proposed withdrawal legislation rejected by Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones, and attacked by human rights groups

Theresa May appeared to be heading for an explosive constitutional clash over Brexit on Thursday, after the Scottish and Welsh governments said they could not support the great repeal bill – the key proposals drawn up to extricate Britain from the European Union.

The historic legislation, formally known as the European Union (withdrawal) bill, came under sustained attack after it was published on Thursday, with MPs and human rights campaigners, as well as leaders in Edinburgh and Cardiff, dismissing it as a Westminster power grab.

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