UK Government must improve its engagement with Wales if its legislative proposals for Brexit are to succeed
The UK Government has not done enough to consult the Assembly and Welsh Government when preparing its proposals for the Great Repeal Bill, the proposed mechanism to convert European Union legislation into UK law, according to a National Assembly committee.
The External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee has set out four key conclusions following its inquiry.
The first is that the UK Government has not consulted meaningfully with Welsh Ministers, and not consulted at all with the Assembly in relation to its preparations for legislating for Brexit.
This, the Committee says, is unacceptable and it expects the incoming UK Government to engage more constructively.
Secondly, the Committee believes that it should be for the Assembly alone to delegate powers to Welsh Ministers, set the controls around their use and establish procedure for considering the legislative instruments needed to give effect to those powers.
“The UK Government’s proposals for a Great Repeal Bill have significant implications for Wales. Whilst this proposed Bill is designed to bring an end to our membership of the European Union, it also poses significant questions about the future shape of another union of nations: the United Kingdom,” said David Rees AM, Chair of the External Affairs Committee.
On the level of consultation, he adds:
“We are concerned that the UK government has failed to consult meaningfully with the Welsh Government and that it has ignored the vital role the Assembly will have to play in legislating for Brexit.”
The Committee also concludes that decisions about future UK-wide policy frameworks must be agreed between the UK Government and the devolved governments and legislatures. They must not be imposed by the UK Government, even on a time-limited basis.
Finally, the Committee recognises the critical importance of engaging with stakeholders and citizens throughout the Brexit process, and the vital contribution that they can make.
David Rees says:
“We recognise the scale of the challenge ahead and stand ready to play our part in delivering the legislative changes that will be needed to ensure we have workable laws after we leave the EU.
“We hope that the new UK Government will take our concerns seriously and step-up its efforts to engage with the Welsh Government and the Assembly; take account of their views; and act on representations made in areas for which the Assembly and Welsh Ministers are responsible.”
“Throughout this process, we must not lose sight of the fact the decisions that are taken during this period will have a direct and lasting effect on people’s lives.”
Read the full report:
The Great Repeal Bill White Paper: Implications for Wales (PDF, 663 KB)