There are fears the Westminster Government will seek to water down devolution as outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May announces a post-Brexit ‘review’ of powers given to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Theresa May’s review will be launched on Thursday on the eve of a Tory leadership hustings, and will look in particular at the relationship between Whitehall departments and devolved administrations over reserved issues.
The review is expected to be led by former Scotland Office minister Andrew Dunlop. He confirmed that he was chairing the review on BBC’s Good Morning Scotland on Wednesday.
Dunlop was David Cameron’s advisor for the independence referendum in 2014. The peer, who will be supported by a small group of civil servants, will report back in the autumn to the winner of the battle between Johnson and Hunt.
Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have committed to introducing a Union Unit in No 10 to better coordinate the Unionist message across Government.
Responding to planned announcement, Plaid Cymru said that that it is the citizens of Wales, and not Westminster, who would decide Wales’ constitutional future ahead of speculation that Theresa May will announce a review into devolution.
Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for International Affairs Delyth Jewell AM said that the visit and review was a “desperate move” by a prime minister in the “dying days of her premiership”.
Ms Jewell said that the Conservatives could not be trusted with devolution and would look to take powers away from Wales, particularly in the context of Brexit.
“Support for independence is growing in Wales and the principle of self-determination will ensure that it will be the citizens of Wales alone who will decide our nation’s constitutional future – not Westminster,” she said.
“The Tories have never been supportive of devolution – they used Brexit to take powers away from Wales, inter-governmental structures are on the brink of collapse and they have candidates in place for the 2021 Assembly election who are actively calling for the abolition of the Welsh Assembly.”
The Tories’ proposal has also been met with fierce criticism in Scotland, with Nicola Sturgeon FM accusing May of showing “zero respect for the Scottish Parliament”.