Supreme Court rules Welsh bill is legal

UK Supreme Court crest Credit: UKSC

Judges sitting in the UK Supreme Court have decided unanimously that a disputed Welsh bill is within the Welsh Government's powers.

The Local Government Bye-laws bill had been passed by the Assembly in July but was prevented from becoming law and referred to the court by the Attorney General who questioned the impact it would have on the power of UK ministers.

But after a month of deliberation the President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, delivered the verdict this morning:

Presiding Officer, Rosemary Butler said it was 'a victory for the National Assembly for Wales,' adding that

In the Senedd chamber she told Assembly Members she would now take the steps required to enable the bill to become law:

A Welsh Government source told me that it was proof that, when it comes to lawmaking, 'the stabilisers had come off the bike.'

And when I spoke to First Minister Carwyn Jones, he said it showed that his government was capable of making laws despite suggestions it might not be up to the job.

But Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith criticised the decision to refer the bill to the Supreme Court in the first place.

He pinned the blame on the Secretary of State, David Jones, who he said was 'anti-devolution.'

But David Jones defended the move, saying it 'removed uncertainty' about the Assembly's lawmaking powers.

The Local Government byelaws bill is now free to receive Royal Assent and become law.