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London handed justice powers refused to Wales

04 Apr 2018 2 minute read
Westminster Parliament. Picture: Ged Carroll (CC BY 2.0)

London is to get powers over the justice system, months after Westminster blocked Wales from having them.

Plaid Cymru has condemned the move which comes after policing was devolved to Scotland, Northern Ireland, London, and Manchester, but not Wales.

A written statement by Westminster’s Ministry of Justice confirmed today that the Mayor of London will be granted responsibility for a swathe of new justice powers.

But a Plaid Cymru amendment to the recently passed Wales Act 2018 to devolve responsibility for justice and policing to Wales was blocked by the Conservatives and the Labour Party.

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, had previously expressed support for a separate jurisdiction for Wales, and the country has been able to create its own laws since 2007.

Plaid Cymru said justice in Wales would remain shackled to a “one-size-fits-all” justice system “designed in and for England” by Westminster.

“Plaid Cymru has long been calling for the devolution of justice and has been told repeatedly that it is unworkable, but now we see that it is workable for London, as well as Northern Ireland and Scotland,” Liz Saville Roberts MP, Plaid Cymru’s Justice and Home Affairs spokesperson, said.

“Prisons are being built in Wales where they are not needed, and prisoners are being imported into our country from England to fill the overcapacity.

“Meanwhile Wales’s shortage of women’s prisons and youth offenders’ facilities are ignored. Our country is being used to solve another country’s crises while our own crises are being left to fester.

“If justice can be devolved to London, it can be devolved to Wales. It is already devolved in both northern Ireland and in Scotland so Westminster has no excuse to insist on keeping Welsh justice in Westminster’s hands.”

The Welsh Government has established an independent commission to review the operation of the justice system in Wales and set a long-term vision for its future.

The Commission has issued a call for evidence, which is open until 4 June, and will report its findings and recommendations during the course of 2019.

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