Senedd to be recalled next week to discuss EU trade deal

The Senedd. Picture by the National Assembly

The Senedd is to be recalled next week to discuss the UK’s trade deal with the EU.

The Llywydd has agreed to a request from the First Minister Mark Drakeford to recall the Senedd to debate the implications of the deal.

Time is of the essence because UK and the EU now have one week to get the trade deal formally approved at Westminster and Brussels.

Talks had stumbled over the issues of what access EU boats will have to British fishing waters, and what rights the EU will have to impose retaliatory tariffs should the UK limit that access in the future, but it has been reported that the deal was reached after the UK made concessions.

“We have finally found an agreement,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “It was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it.”

But she noted that “no deal in the world can change the economic reality of today’s word.”

The UK Government said the deal was “fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK”.

 

‘Star Chamber’

The deal will not only be scrutinised in the Senedd because Welsh Tory MP, David Jones, said the Eurosceptic group the ERG “will reconvene its Star Chamber” to look over the detail.

Mr Jones was mocked in some quarters for his “Star Chamber” comments, and in a reference to Star Wars, Welsh public affairs professional Cathy Owens said: “Take a couple of days off, Palpatine.”

Welsh farmers have said that they are expecting their costs to rise by up to 8 per cent following the trade deal. The Farmers’ Union of Wales has said that the post-Brexit trade deal will result in costly non-tariff barriers.

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, has said that that the deal agreed between the UK and EU is “worlds away from what was promised to Wales”, while the Welsh Government’s Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles, has said that “whatever the spin” it was not a good deal.

“This eleventh hour agreement avoids the catastrophe of a no trade deal exit, but it’s not a good deal, it’s not the future we wanted for Wales, nor that Wales was promised, whatever the spin,” he said.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said that any deal was better than no deal but it was “appalling” that Welsh businesses had to wait so long.

“Clearly, we need to receive a copy of the draft Treaty and analyse its terms before commenting in detail,” he said.

However, Welsh Tory MP David Davies compared the Brexit deal between the UK and the EU to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

He described it as “historic” suggested the agreement between the UK and the trade bloc of democratic nations, was similar the fall a wall that kept people trapped and under the control of a despotic communist surveillance state.

The Senedd will also meet for a virtual Plenary session on the morning of Wednesday 30 December when Members will also debate a statement relating to Covid-19.

Further details about the agenda when the Senedd is recalled will follow ahead of the Plenary session.

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