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Welsh Government raises fears that EU law bill is another power grab by UK Government

23 Sep 2022 3 minute read
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford. Picture by Andrew Matthews / PA Wire

The Welsh Government has raised concerns over a new Bill that could see the UK Government legislate in areas of devolved responsibility without the consent of Welsh Ministers or the Senedd.

It has also warned it could lead to reductions in standards, and uncertainty for people and businesses.

The Retained EU Law (Reform and Revocation) Bill was introduced in the House of Commons yesterday.

The Bill contains a series of wide-ranging powers that would allow UK Government Ministers to change or delete a vast body of laws in devolved areas that date from the time of EU membership, almost all of which were agreed by previous UK Governments. The timescales set by the Bill mean that there is a real risk that key laws and protections could disappear at the end of 2023.

The Counsel General wrote to Jacob Rees-Mogg, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, earlier in the week to outline his concerns about the legislation, and to stress the need for a different approach.

“As currently drafted, this legislation could see UK Government Ministers given unfettered authority to legislate in devolved areas – contrary to the democratically established devolution settlement,” Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said.

“It also risks the reduction of standards in important areas including employment, health and the environment.

“We are disappointed the Bill has reached this stage with such little engagement with the Welsh Government about its most important aspects, and we call on the UK Government to bring about the legislative changes that will ensure Wales’ constitutional integrity and devolution settlement is respected and preserved.”

Risks

The Welsh Government’s intervention comes after the Scottish Government raised concerns about the same bill yesterday.

Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson wrote of his deep concern at the wholesale ‘sun-setting’ of retained EU law by 31 December 2023, warning it “carries an unacceptably high risk that vital law, on which the smooth functioning of sectors of the economy and society depends, simply drops off the UK statute book”.

The introduction of the bill risks removing restrictions on the use of decontaminants on meat, such as the chlorine washes on chicken and businesses’ minimum hygiene standards, he said. It could also jeopardise protections in relation to the safety and compositional standards of baby foods.

Holiday pay, safe limits on working hours and parental leave could also become open to deregulation. The letter also warned that the bill represents a significant further undermining of devolution, by allowing UK Government ministers to act in policy areas that are devolved, and to do so without the consent of Scottish Ministers or the Scottish Parliament.


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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
11 days ago

Get ready in the near future for contacted jobs without holiday, maternity/paternity pay, or sick pay. We are heading back to the early, unregulated, industrial revolution days. Thatcher didn’t believe in society, only the individual, business and family. Well with deregulation on steroids currently happening we won’t have a society. There will just be extreme poverty and extreme wealth.

I Humphrys
I Humphrys
11 days ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

In Cymru, we are our own society. This is not England.

Gareth
Gareth
11 days ago
Reply to  I Humphrys

Yes we are our own society with an elected government, but unfortunately we are governed indirectly by England, and any law we make to benefit our society, will be, and has been, overturned by them if it is not to their taste, or political ideology. The recent trades union bill being an example.

The original mark
The original mark
11 days ago
Reply to  I Humphrys

I get the impression they don’t care

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 days ago

Recently we had Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at the UN summit make a speech in reference to Russia and Putin’s war in Ukraine. And during his speech made to member states , press and the watching world attacked Russia’s intention of sham referendums in those regions taken during the conflict so making them part of Russia. And if ever those areas were subsequently attacked would deem it a breach of Russian soverignty, so would respond in kind with a all means available and this includes a possible Nuclear strike. Cleverly called Putin’s intention , and I quote: ” As typical… Read more »

I Humphrys
I Humphrys
11 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Soviet means Council.

Gareth
Gareth
11 days ago
Reply to  I Humphrys

As defined in the Oxford English dictionary, Soviet does mean council, but as used by the Tory party in Cymru over the last few years it is meant as a derogatory remark to besmirch our government, and imply Russian type governance and policies., but is now being used to describe a government as being authoritarian and undemocratic and ignoring the electorate, basically a dictatorship, which for Cymru is Westminster.

The original mark
The original mark
11 days ago

It’s all very well raising fears about a bill, but what exactly are they going to do about it, write a strongly worded letter?

Quornby
Quornby
8 days ago

Simple really……indy ASAP….. And leave the money grubbing English establishment to rot

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