Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

UK government accused by AMs of fresh Brexit power grab

The UK Government's promises to amend its EU Withdrawal Bill have not yet ended accusations of a "power grab" of devolved powers but agreement might be reached next week. Now a report by Assembly Members warns that the entire row could take place all over again because the Trade Bill now being considered by Westminster adopts the same approach.

The Trade Bill paves the way for the UK Government to negotiate trade deals with other countries, which has been the EU's responsibility for the last 45 years. Credit: PA

The Assembly's External Affairs Committee says that just like the EU Withdrawal Bill, the Trade Bill gives the UK government powers that should go to Wales when they come back from Brussels after Brexit, even though international trade is a Westminster responsibility.

It's not a devolved area but the consequences do come into things like agriculture and the environment, giving the power to UK ministers to take action in Welsh devolved competences, without the assent of Welsh ministers. That's not great ... to give UK ministers the power to change EU laws in Wales. We want to see Welsh ministers make these decisions.

– External Affairs Committee Chair David Rees AM

The report says that if agreement is reached on amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, there should be similar amendments to the Trade Bill or a row that has rumbled on for months will start all over again, just when it might have been settled.