The UK Government can expect criticism from MPs and political leaders in Wales when it unveils its plans to transfer powers back from Europe today
There’s concern that the Repeal Bill will give ministers sweeping new powers at Westminster as well as taking powers that many argue belong with the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament.
Here, the First Minister has ordered civil servants to begin work on a bill of his own that would claim the returning powers for the Assembly and challenge Parliament to overturn it, sparking a constitutional crisis.
But the UK Government has dismissed fears, saying that the Assembly will end up with more powers not less as a result of Britain leaving the EU.
The bill will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which took Britain into what became the European Union and allows European laws to take precedence over UK laws.
This means that laws and regulations made while the UK was part of the EU will continue to apply, but they will become British laws rather than EU ones.
It would also end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
It’s likely to be controversial amongst MPs because it’s expected to contain powers to make changes to some laws without full Parliamentary scrutiny.
MPs from all parties including the Conservatives are thought to be planning to work together to block these ‘Henry VIII laws.’ One MP is said to have warned of ‘legislative war’ over the bill.
There are concerns about the impact on the Assembly’s ability to make laws in future.
Critics claim that powers in areas that are already devolved such as economic development and agriculture will be taken by Westminster while it’s decided what to do with them.
Many in the Assembly including the First Minister say they should automatically be transferred to Wales and decisions on their future should be taken by all four parliaments and Assemblies.
When he published his initial plans, in March Brexit Secretary David Davis promised that many new powers would go to the Welsh government and Assembly and to the other devolved administrations. But he also said that it was important to ensure that no damage was done to free trade within the United Kingdom, which he said is worth much more to the home nations than the EU single market.
The UK Government has also said that it will seek the consent of the devolved administrations for the Repeal Bill. It means Wales and Scotland can say no to the changes it proposes although legally they can’t block them. It could lead to a huge political row as Carwyn Jones told an Assembly committee earlier this week.
At the same meeting, the First Minister revealed that he’s ordered civil servants to begin drawing up a plan to try to ensure the powers are transferred to Wales.
He told members of the External Affairs Committee that officials have begun work on a Continuity Bill, which would claim the relevant returning powers for the Assembly.
Mr Jones said Assembly Members would be asked to work extra hours to pass the Continuity Bill into Welsh law before the Repeal Bill is passed in Parliament.
It would force the UK Government to accept it or ask Parliament to overturn Assembly legislation, a move which would lead to a constitutional crisis.
Plaid Cymru has backed the First Minister's position, but has warned that Labour MPs should do the same. Plaid's Brexit spokesperson, Hywel Williams said: