MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, May 23rd 2018 - 03:25 UTC

Welsh Assembly supports EU Withdrawal Bill after months of talks and heated debate

Wednesday, May 16th 2018 - 08:38 UTC
Full article 1 comment
Finance Secretary Drakeford ”We have defended and entrenched our devolution settlement. We have provided for the successful operation of the UK after Brexit. Finance Secretary Drakeford ”We have defended and entrenched our devolution settlement. We have provided for the successful operation of the UK after Brexit.
“Tonight we'll see a Labour government vote with the Tories and UKIP to support Westminster's EU Withdrawal Bill,” said Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood. “Tonight we'll see a Labour government vote with the Tories and UKIP to support Westminster's EU Withdrawal Bill,” said Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.

A majority of Welsh assembly members have given their consent to a controversial Brexit bill. It follows the UK and Welsh governments reaching agreement on changes to the EU Withdrawal Bill after months of talks. Labour, Welsh Conservative and UKIP AMs supported the Welsh Government's position in a heated debate on Tuesday, while Plaid Cymru opposed the move.

It comes as a majority of members of Scotland's parliament voted against the legislation. A total of 46 assembly members voted to give their consent to the parts of the bill that impact the assembly's powers.

Welsh and Scottish ministers were working together against the bill before the deal - and the Scottish government remains opposed. Ahead of the vote, UK and Welsh government sources defended their agreement and attacked the Scottish government's opposition to it as “a nonsense”.

The Scottish government says it has “been entirely consistent in public and in private”.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford - who has led Welsh negotiations on the bill - told AMs: “We have defended and entrenched our devolution settlement. We have provided for the successful operation of the UK after Brexit.

”We have provided a good deal for the Assembly and a good deal for Wales.“ Welsh Conservative AM David Melding said ministers had secured ”an important and constitutionally significant concession“ from the UK government.

There was also praise from UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton, who said the Welsh Government had played ”an extremely good hand in the course of the negotiations“.

But Plaid Cymru AMs were vocal in their opposition. The party maintains that the bill remained a power-grab. ”Tonight we'll see a Labour government vote with the Tories and UKIP to support Westminster's EU Withdrawal Bill,“ said Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.

Plaid AM Adam Price said: ”We are joining a very select club of national Parliaments, if we pass this motion today, that have voluntarily decided to cede their own authority.“

The Welsh and Scottish first ministers had both called the UK government's original plans for the bill a ”power-grab“ as it would have meant powers in devolved areas such as food labeling - currently operated by the EU in Brussels - would transfer directly to Westminster rather than to the devolved administrations post Brexit.

In February, the UK government said it had made a ”considerable” offer, which would see the vast majority of those powers returning to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast while the rest temporarily stayed in London.

Although Welsh ministers said at the time the offer did not go far enough, following further discussions they reached agreement with the UK government in April on a different proposal.

It means consent of the devolved legislatures will be sought for any changes to the powers held in Westminster, but if talks become deadlocked, UK Parliament will have the final say.

It also stipulates the powers will be held in Westminster for up to seven years after the UK has left the EU on 29 March 2019.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Juana

    The question is why is this piece appearing in Mercopenguin, a British government propaganda organ supposedly devoted to America, South America and the “South Atlantic”?

    Posted 3 days ago 0
Read all comments

Please log in or register (it’s free!) to comment.