Prime Minister hails 'significant' Brexit powers deal

Months of talks have led to agreement with Wales but not Scotland Credit: PA, Daniel Leal-Olivas

The UK Government has published changes to its main Brexit bill after months of talks ended in agreement with the Welsh Government but not with Scottish Government.

It's a deal that's been welcomed by the Prime Minister, the UK Government and Welsh Government figures but has been condemned as 'a Labour-Tory stitch-up like no other' by the leader of Plaid Cymru.

Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon had accused Theresa May of carrying out a 'power grab' through her Withdrawal Bill by keeping hold in London some of the powers returning from the European Union even though those powers affect areas which are devolved to Cardiff and Edinburgh.

Scottish ministers remain opposed to the Withdrawal bill and will recommend that MSPs deny it consent when they vote on the way it affects Scotland.

Here, the Welsh Government has now dropped its opposition and will recommend that AMs back the bill when they hold a similar vote in Cardiff Bay.

New amendments to the Withdrawal Bill tabled by the UK Government will promise continued discussion on which powers are held centrally and set a limit on the time they're held.

As a result of the deal, the UK Government will drop its legal challenge to the Welsh Government's continuity bill which had attempted to guarantee that the disputed powers were transferred to Wales without the agreement of Westminster.

During Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May told MPs that she hoped Scotland's ministers would reconsider their opposition to her withdrawal bill.

It is a significant achievement and will provide legal certainty, increase the powers of the devolved Governments and respect the devolution settlements. We have made considerable changes to the Bill to reflect issues raised by Members and the devolved Administrations. It is indeed disappointing that the Scottish Government have not yet felt able to add their agreement to the new amendments, and we sincerely hope that they will reconsider their position.

– Theresa May

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has also welcomed the agreement.

Plaid Cymru has turned its fire on Carwyn Jones' Labour Welsh Government for 'selling Wales down the river.' Plaid's Parliamentary Leader Liz Saville Roberts said:

For the first time since the birth of devolution the Westminster Government has succeeded in clawing back powers which should be held by our national assembly.This will have major consequences for the UK's constitution, and this is all thanks to the Labour Party in Wales.

– Liz Saville Roberts MP, Plaid Cymru


This afternoon, the man who's been leading the negotiations for the Welsh Government, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has been updating AMs about the deal. He told them:

This deal represents very substantial progress on where we were just a few weeks ago, and soundly defends the devolved interests of this National Assembly. It has meant compromise on both sides. The art of negotiation is being willing to give ground from your starting position when your counterpart is also prepared to do so. This is what we have done and I believe the outcome is a mature agreement between governments which is respectful of each other’s interests.

– Mark Drakeford AM, Finance Secretary

'A Labour-Tory stitch-up like no other'

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has condemned the deal as 'a Labour-Tory stitch-up like no other.' You can watch her extraordinarily angry reaction below: