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Wales’ Counsel General slams ‘constitutionally unacceptable’ EU law bonfire Bill

03 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Mick Antoniw. Counsel General

Wales’ Counsel General Mick Antoniw has slammed the UK Government bill which has been described as a “bonfire of retained EU laws” – and recommended the Senedd withholds its consent for the legislation.

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, was introduced by the former Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency, Jacob Rees-Mogg earlier this year, and is designed to make it easier for the UK Government, via the UK Parliament, to amend, repeal and replace more than 2,000 pieces of EU law retained after Brexit.

It also allows nearly all remaining retained EU law to be either repealed or absorbed into UK domestic law by December 31, 2023.

In a written statement, Mr Antoniw notes that the Bill “includes significant content that was not shared with the Devolved Governments prior to introduction” and described powers that would be granted to UK Government Ministers in devolved areas without the consent of Welsh Ministers as “constitutionally unacceptable”.

Setting out the Welsh Government’s position, the minister added: ”Our expectation is, in the first instance, that powers to amend devolved legislation should rest solely with the Welsh Ministers or, if held concurrently with Ministers of the Crown, that there should be a requirement on the face of the Bill for them to gain the consent of Welsh Ministers for their exercise in devolved areas”.

He also criticised the “arbitrary” deadline to review and actively save retained EU law by 31 December 2023.

Distraction

Mr Antoniw added: “The Bill is a significant distraction at a time when the focus of government should be on matters of greater importance such as the cost-of-living crisis.

“It is our opinion that the body of retained EU law, as it currently stands, is in general fit for purpose.

“The imposition of the arbitrary deadline means that there is a very real risk in revisiting these legal instruments in haste, that interdependencies and other issues may not be identified, and that the consequence could be an inoperable statute book.

“As a result of this and other concerns with the Bill, which by its very nature could significantly impact on devolution, we are recommending that the Senedd withholds its consent for the Bill.”

Last weeks, MPs voted 280 to 225, majority 55, to give the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill a second reading.

It will undergo further scrutiny at a later date.


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Arwyn
Arwyn
22 days ago

Everytime a Welsh Labour politician bemoans what the Tories are doing I am reminded of the consequences of their Unionism. It really affects the way I perceive their complaints.

Martin price
Martin price
22 days ago

Wales voted for Brexit, particularly the valleys and West Wales farmers. so please, no complaints

David Harking
David Harking
22 days ago
Reply to  Martin price

I thought Ceredigion voted against Brexit. So, effectively, they particularly did not vote Brexit?

The original mark
The original mark
22 days ago
Reply to  Martin price

Rubbish.

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
22 days ago

This is the same Mick Antoniw who in 2021 co-authored the paper ‘We, the people – The case for Radical Federalism.’ A paper which in my opinion demonstrates the naivety of the British Labour party in Wales which expects Westminster to act at all times in our interest. In this paper Mick and his co-authors suggest a more federal structure for the government of the constituent countries in the UK – more devolution – good idea. Here is the BUT, the central UK parliament would keep responsibility for the key areas of macro-economic, trade, fiscal and foreign policy – so… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
22 days ago

I actually look forward to the idiots attempting to undo 2,000 laws in 14 months when they have managed just 33 since 2016.
The disaster that has been Brexit exporting has nothing on the forthcoming chaos when the UK scraps all standards and compliance.

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