Plaid criticise ‘hypocritical’ Labour after they fail to back amendment to ‘power grab’ bill

Boris Johnson at the House of Commons.

Plaid Cymru have accused Labour of “hypocrisy” after they failed to back an amendment to a bill described by the Welsh Government as a “power grab” of Wales’ powers.

The spending powers set out in the Internal Market Bill override the existing devolution settlement and will enable the UK government to spend money in Wales without asking the Wesh Government first.

First Minister Mark Drakeford previously slammed the Bill as an “enormous power grab” which the Welsh Government will oppose “every step of the way”.

But Plaid Cymru said that Labour’s failure to support their amendment to the bill at Westminster was “hypocritical beyond belief”.

Plaid Cymru said their amendment tabled today would have protected the devolution settlement by preventing the Bill from coming into force unless the devolved legislatures gave their consent.

The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Greens, SDLP and Alliance all voted with Plaid Cymru in favour, while Labour MPs decided to abstain. Conservatives voted against leading to a final result of 63 in favour and 350 against.

 

‘Responsibility’

“It is hypocritical beyond belief that Labour in the Senedd say one thing while Labour in Westminster do the exact opposite,” Plaid Cymru leader Liz Saville Roberts MP said.

“This was an amendment that was fully consistent with the Labour Welsh Government’s policy on this shoddy Bill, seeking to give the Senedd the chance to protect its own powers and to defend Wales against Westminster’s power grab. It was an opportunity to display a strong cross-party stance in defence of devolution. Instead, Labour decided to sit on their hands.

“This is an abject abdication of responsibility on the part of the Labour Party, not only to their colleagues in government, but also to the people of Wales.”

‘Reckless’

The Internal Market Bill eventually cleared a major Commons hurdle today after MPs backed a Government compromise.

Tory backbench pressure forced the Prime Minister to agree to amend the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill in order to give MPs a vote before the Government can use powers which would breach the Brexit divorce deal brokered with Brussels last year.

The compromise amendment was supported in the Commons without the need for a formal vote.

PM Boris Johnson, however, faces criticism from the opposition benches and from some members of his own party.

On Monday Theresa May, former Tory prime minister, said she could not support Mr Johnson’s Internal Market Bill and accused the Prime Minister of being “reckless”.

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