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‘Only independence can protect Welsh powers’, say Plaid, as High Court rebuffs legal challenge

19 Apr 2021 3 minute read
The Senedd left and Westminster right. Picture by on the left by the Senedd (CC BY 2.0).

Plaid Cymru have argued that only independence can protect Wales’ powers after the High Court rebuffed a legal challenge by the Welsh Government.

Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, has described the ruling refusing permission for the Welsh Government’s case against the Internal Market Act to go ahead as “disappointing”.

The Welsh Government has said that it is considering “further steps, including an appeal”.

The Act takes away previously devolved powers away from the Senedd centralises them in Westminster.

The Senedd rejected the law as did the Scottish Parliament. However, the UK Government proceeded with the Act regardless.

Jeremy Miles, the Counsel General for Wales, argued that the Act “severely curtails” the powers of the Senedd and could prevent it from making laws on food or environmental standards.

He asked the High Court to allow the case to proceed to a full hearing later this year at a hearing in London last week.

However, Lord Justice Lewis said the legal challenge was “premature” because there was an “absence of specific circumstances”.

In response Liz Saville Roberts that the “implication is that Wales must wait until Westminster has inflicted the worst of its attacks on devolution before we can act

She added that independence is the only way to “ensure that our powers will remain fully protected in the hands of the people of Wales.”


A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The Divisional Court today decided the application for permission to bring a judicial review of parts of the United Kingdom Internal Market Act. The application for permission has been refused on the ground that it is premature, rather than whether it is arguable. Consideration will now be given to further steps, including an appeal.”

In his ruling Lord Justice Lewis, sitting with Mrs Justice Steyn, said: “A claim concerning the meaning or effect of provisions of Senedd legislation, or whether the legislation is properly within the Senedd’s legislative competence, is better addressed in the context of specific legislative proposals.

“It is inappropriate to seek to address such issues in the absence of specific circumstances giving rise to the arguments raised by the claimant and a specific legislative context in which to test and assess those arguments.

“Similarly, it is inappropriate to seek to give general, abstract rulings on the circumstances in which the power to make regulations amending the (Internal Market) Act may be exercised.

“As the claim for judicial review is premature, it is unnecessary, and would be unwise, to express views on the arguability or otherwise of the arguments raised by the claimant.”

Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “This ruling is disappointing. Its implication is that Wales must wait until Westminster has inflicted the worst of its attacks on devolution before we can act. By that point, I fear that it will be too late.

“There is an alternative. By electing the first pro-independence Welsh Government on 6 May we can ensure that our powers will remain fully protected in the hands of the people of Wales. By voting for Plaid Cymru that we can ensure that no Tory government can overrule our democracy again.”

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Richard Davies
Richard Davies
3 years ago

Although this result was not surprise, I had held out hope that they, the judges, were above party politics. The Supreme Court failed to realise this Internal Market Act was written without Welsh Government consent or input, who were excluded like they were with Brexit negotiations by the Conservative party. How can they, the Supreme Court, find this bill acceptable when Tories openly said they will interference with areas already devolved. Has the Tory idocracy permutated to the highest court in the land? Sadly yes. And their advise. Wait till they interfere, then come back to us. ££. Independence is… Read more »

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
3 years ago

To update my last comment. With the Supreme Court ruling today against Welsh Government fears that the Tories Internal Market Bill will interfere with devolution. This is the reply their lap-dogs in Cardiff released. A Welsh Tory spokesperson commented , and I quote: “This is another embarrassing case of Labour wasting precious time, energy and taxpayers money fighting unnecessary and unsuccessful battles against the UK Government”. Wait a moment? Is this the very same English Tory Government in London the Welsh poodles protect, who took the Welsh Government to court over Senedd competency three times losing all three cases wasting… Read more »

Peter Morgan Barnes
Peter Morgan Barnes
3 years ago

Lewis’s ruling does not, I think, sink the challenge to Internal Market Bill nor does it mean devolution has to be destroyed before the High Court can rule – as Saville Roberts claims. Rather, it shows that the time to pounce is the first instance of the govt attempting to diminish devolution. The govt will probably start at the thin end of the wedge, knowing that a challenge in the High Court will be made, but Lewis’s ruling shows the pathway to arguing successfully against the Bill. The Senedd must have an instance to argue rather than a potentiality. Otherwise… Read more »

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