Plaid Cymru has accused the UK Government of showing “contempt for devolution” in response to legislation that would enable Westminster to create a new internal market across the UK once the Brexit transition period ends.
The comments come at the conclusion of a four-week consultation period on the UK Internal Market white paper, which was presented in the House of Commons in July.
The bill, if passed, would allow Westminster to define how the devolved nations would interact with the UK Government post-Brexit and will compel Wales and Scotland to accept whatever new standards on food, environment and animal welfare are agreed in future trade agreements.
Food safety, agriculture and many aspects of the environment are policy areas currently overseen by the governments of Edinburgh and Cardiff.
However, the UK government wants to have the final say on issues previously decided in Brussels and a free hand in post-Brexit negotiations with other countries.
Plaid Cymru has also criticised the fact the four-week-consultation and white paper were not jointly put forward by the Westminster and devolved administrations, and in a written submission called for the UK Government to “fundamentally reconsider its approach to the UK Internal Market and to start a meaningful discussion with the Welsh and Scottish governments and the Northern Ireland Executive about the future of governance across and between the nations of the UK.”
Describing the consultation as “a series of loaded questions” Liz Saville Roberts MP, Group Leader of Plaid Cymru in the House of Commons, said, “It is as if the Westminster Government cannot even hide its contempt for devolution.
“This is a power grab, plain and simple. From nakedly taking back competencies already held in Wales, to the fact that this legislation was not proposed jointly with the devolved administrations, the Westminster Government is chipping away at two decades of devolution.
“People will not fall for the Westminster double-speak of adding to devolution, these changes will only diminish Wales’s ability to carve its own path.”