News

Westminster ‘power grab’ bill ‘still undermines Senedd’ despite partial u-turn

15 Dec 2020 2 minutes Read
Westminster and the Senedd. Picture on the right by Richard Szwejkowski (CC BY-SA 2.0).

A bill described as a “power grab” of devolved powers from Wales still “undermines” the Senedd despite a partial u-turn, a minister has said.

Earlier today the UK Government signalled that it would back off from a bid to roll back devolution by introducing new amendments to the UK Internal Market Bill.

Wales’ Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles said that while he recognised that changes had been made that it was not enough.

“Hugely grateful to peers for their defence of devolution and acknowledge that UK Government has moved a little,” he said.

“But the Bill still allows UK Ministers to undermine the right of the Senedd to make laws and policies which reflect the priorities of the people they serve.”

He had previously said that the bill was “an attack on democracy” which will “sacrifice the future of the union by stealing powers from devolved administrations”.

 

Climbdown

Under the new government amendments, however, different nations within the UK will continue to set their own standards in key areas of trade.

Under market access principles, rules would have been applied uniformly across the UK, but the changes mean that each devolved administration can be exempted following agreement with London.

The changes follow repeated heavy defeats for the Tories in the Lords over the issue.

Cabinet office minister Lord Callanan announced the U-turn at the despatch box in the Lords today.

“The government have listened carefully and reflected upon the points, put forward many times by your Lordships’ House on putting common frameworks on the face of the bill. And I am pleased to say that today we are able to act,” he said.

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