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Inquiry to examine Wales’ changing constitution

29/07/2019

A new inquiry will consider the impact that Brexit is having on devolution and the constitution of the United Kingdom. 

The National Assembly’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee is calling for evidence looking at the operation of the Sewel Convention, which sets out how the National Assembly gives consent for the UK Parliament to legislate in devolved areas, and also how the Welsh Government and UK Government are working together. 

The Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Mick Antoniw AM said: 

“The constitutional structure of the UK has become increasingly unstable and dysfunctional. We are now approaching a critical time as the UK leaves the EU and we need to consider the consequences for Wales and whether Brexit is resulting in a re-centralisation of some devolved powers in London to the detriment of Wales. 

“Our report UK governance post-Brexit, published in February 2018, highlighted our concerns about the potential for unintended constitutional consequences as the UK leaves the EU. Moreover, we have expressed concerns about the extent to which the UK Government is acting in devolved areas and the potential loss of our ability to make some laws as a result of regulations being made to correct the statute book. 

“A cornerstone of the devolution settlement, the Sewel convention has become increasingly unfit for purpose. It is imperative that the process of providing consent for the UK Government to legislate in devolved areas is re-inforced and we will be examining how this might be achieved.  

“We are becoming increasingly concerned at the impact Brexit is having on devolution. We feel it incumbent to examine these issues in greater detail to ensure that the constitutional arrangements that emerge post-Brexit are fair and equitable for Wales and respect devolution”. 

The new inquiry allows the Committee the flexibility to take account of emerging challenges should the detail of the UK’s exit from the EU become clearer as we head into the autumn. As a result, it is likely to issue themed reports over the course of its work and potentially in response to specific issues as they arise. 

The Committee will be consulting widely and will hold a roundtable session in October.  

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