Brexit Bill must be amended – Assembly Committee
Five key objectives must be met before a committee looking at the Brexit Bill can recommend that the National Assembly support it, its Chair has warned.
The five objectives from the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee are:
To remove the Clause 11 restriction on the devolution settlement, which would see powers returned to London and not Cardiff. The Committee believes that where common UK policy frameworks are needed, then they should be agreed between the governments and legislatures of the UK and not imposed by the UK Government;
- The EU Withdrawal Bill currently gives UK Ministers powers to correct aspects of EU law that will need amending after Brexit. The Committee believes that Welsh Ministers and the Assembly should have the same power as UK Ministers where powers are devolved;
- If these powers come to Wales, the Welsh Government’s ability to rewrite law that was previously decided by the EU should be limited to enable proper scrutiny by the Assembly;
- Under the Bill, UK Ministers should not have the power to amend aspects of EU-derived law that affect Wales unless they are reserved to Westminster; and
- The Bill currently outlines how the Assembly would scrutinise the UK Government’s decisions; the Committee believes the Assembly has the right to determine its own scrutiny arrangements.
“The EU Withdrawal Bill gives the UK Government sweeping powers over areas of policy that have been devolved to Wales for 20 years. It is vital that we respect the people who voted in two referenda for a National Assembly with power to legislate on devolved issues. We recognise the scale of the challenge ahead and we are ready to play our part to ensure we have workable laws after we leave the EU.
Throughout this process, we must not lose sight of the fact that decisions taken on Brexit will have a direct and long lasting impact on people’s lives.”
– David Rees AM, Chair of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee