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Boris Johnson’s ‘Brexit freedoms bill’ a new threat to devolution say Welsh and Scottish governments

31 Jan 2022 3 minute read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Both the Welsh and Scottish governments have warned that Boris Johnson’s new ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’ constitutes a threat to Wales and Scotland’s political autonomy.

The ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’ will allow EU laws to be more easily removed by No 10 Downing Street. It is understood to be part of Boris Johnson’s attempt to appeal to Conservative MPs and avoid a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

But Wales’ minister for the constitution Mick Antoniw said that the UK government’s approach was driving a “coach and horses through the concept of mutual consent”.

“The government has been unable to provide assurances that its plans for future changes in dealing with ‘retained’ EU law would not affect the devolution settlement,” he said.

Scottish Culture Secretary Angus Robertson also criticised the idea, saying that it was announced with “little discussion, consultation with, or indeed respect for, the Scottish parliament and government”.

“Within days of the UK government promising more respectful ways of working, we were informed of what is clearly a rushed exercise over the weekend with nothing more than a vague verbal briefing,” he said.

Representatives of the Welsh and Scottish governments are understood to have made their concerns clear in a telephone call with UK attorney-general Suella Braverman over the weekend.

‘Benefits of Brexit’

Downing Street however said that under current rules reforming and repealing EU laws would take several years due to the need for primary legislation to go through the House of Commons.

Boris Johnson said: “Getting Brexit done two years ago today was a truly historic moment and the start of an exciting new chapter for our country.

“We have made huge strides since then to capitalise on our newfound freedoms and restore the UK’s status as a sovereign, independent country that can determine its own future.

“The plans we have set out today will further unleash the benefits of Brexit and ensure that businesses can spend more of their money investing, innovating and creating jobs.”

Attorney General Suella Braverman said that setting up a mechanism to deal with retained EU law was “essential”.

“It means we can move away from outdated EU laws that were the result of unsatisfactory compromises within the EU, some of which the UK voted and lobbied against – but was required to adopt without question,” she added.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago

He needs his nappy changing…

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
7 months ago

This should show the Welsh government that the biggest threat to Wales, the Welsh people, The Welsh economy, Welsh democracy and the future is being run by the UK government (A UK government we in Wales did and will never elect). Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England are 4 separate nations each with our own culture and the only way we can have good relations is with a solution that all our nations can develop our own cultural, economic and political decisions in mutual respect. Independent nations co-operating by their own choice. The problem is this is not happening as the… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
7 months ago

I am not sure I quite understand this “EU Law” thing. The vast majority of so-called EU law came in the form of directives resulting from member requests which were passed into law by the member states parliaments. For instance the UK wanted fire extinguishers marked in a certain standard way so asked for and voted on a directive. That came to Westminster where the government set out the details of how they intended to interpret that directive and passed it into UK law. The directives were often interpreted differently by the UK and other member states so “EU Law”… Read more »

DaWag
DaWag
7 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
7 months ago
Reply to  DaWag

I got as far back as 1991 and there are thousands of items on the Legislation.gov website for every single year and most are dealing with short-term items like a bird flu outbreak in Romania or the changes in aviation rules regarding EU flights to “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” in relation to the Syrian conflict. But in there are such things as the quality of drinking water, control of toxins and medical use of radioactive materials. A blanket approach could be disastrous as even since the Leave vote things like UK fishing access to and through EU member waters… Read more »

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
7 months ago
Reply to  DaWag

Thanks for digging out that clip. I had forgotten just how uninformed so many people are about EU directives and how they are derived, how they become/became UK law and, of course, the fact that the UK tended to ‘Gold Plate’ them compared to other EU member states.

Argol Fawr!
Argol Fawr!
7 months ago

Johnston and the tory party have as much respect for the devolved nations as Putin and his cronies have for the Ukraine.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Argol Fawr!

There is much in common between the 2 situations, except Putin is probably capable of behaving with greater restraint than the spoilt brat .

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Whilst this is a bit off this specific topic, there is an interesting presentation by Vladimir Pozner on YouTube which provides a very clear explanation of how Putin has arrived at the current state of affairs. It was recorded in 2018 which shows that our Governments really ought to try harder at International Politics

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X7Ng75e5gQ]

Eira
Eira
7 months ago
Reply to  Argol Fawr!

True, but please refer to the country as Ukraine, not ‘the Ukraine’.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago

Even a badly clenched fist is a bad look…so much anger in him…

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago

Tories now full of anger and hostility towards anything that does not share their “vision”, whatever that may be as it seems to shift from day to day !. Watched Andrew Neil’s review of the recent antics last night and notwithstanding Neil’s underlying sympathy for right wing thinking he was obviously disturbed by this Cabinet’s collective inability to be open and honest about anything. The current operating maxim seems to be “keep ducking and diving and it will all come out O.K “. They hope.

Quornby
Quornby
7 months ago

Freedom from what? Supermarket shelves are half empty and prices are going up in 20% increments week on week. We can’t import, we can’t export, and we are sending a b*llsh*tting moron to be chewed up and spat out by Putin. Meanwhile France and Germany met the Russians a week ago. All this because the jerk made a few silly old women laugh and accomadated racists. I probably won’t be around to see the worst of it because some boozed up sicophant wanted a party. How are the mighty fallen? Lord send us Independence ASAP.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

Former PM David Cameron once said that his Conservative Party would respect Wales & Welsh devolution. He later reneged on his promise by attacking only the Welsh NHS stating Wales was the divide between life & death even though all heath systems were struggling while omitting attacks against the SNP Scottish Government, this likely because the 2014 independence referenda was on the horizon. We then had Welsh Conservative leaders Andrew RT Davies & former leader Paul Davies both state that Wales should use the powers devolved rather than intrude in areas reserved by Whitehall. And if they ever became First… Read more »

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