Jonathan Edwards, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU Relations
We expect the EU Withdrawal Bill back in the House of Commons in a matter of weeks, if not days.
For some reason the Prime Minister feels confident enough in her modest majority to believe she can get the bill back through the Commons without jeopardising her already receding red lines.
This could be because:
- The Westminster government has found some miraculous solution to the Irish border
- The Prime Minister wants to save face ahead of the crunch time EU summit later this month
- A combination of the two
- They’re looking for a “kick it into next election territory” fudged solution.
In case you were wondering, my money’s on the last option.
Either way, 196 Lords amendments (both by the Government and by opposition parties) will be making their way back to the Commons for us to accept, reject or alter.
One of those amendments was the subject of a deal the spineless Labour Welsh Government made with the Tories in Westminster to weaken our constitution.
One of those amendments, Lords amendment 26, is the infamous Clause 11 power-grab amendment.
The Scottish Government rejected it. The Scottish Labour Party followed suit. Even Jeremy Corbyn himself labelled it a power-grab and supported Scotland in its stance.
Surprise, surprise, Labour Welsh Ministers welcomed the amendment with open arms. And when grilled on the issue in our national parliament, they failed to justify why.
Buoyed by the Scottish Government during the very early stages of this debate, the Labour Welsh Government did show some signs of resistance.
Amendments were drafted jointly by the Welsh and Scottish Governments to reverse the effects of Clause 11.
Those amendments were tabled by the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn but, as aforementioned, they were later abandoned by the Welsh Government in favour of the Westminster Government amendments.
Dazzled by the attention they received from Whitehall and the unionist press, the submissive Labour-run government capitulated and invited Westminster Ministers into our devolution settlement to do with it as they please.
The irony is laughable. The Labour Party once stood on an election platform to “stop the Tories from trampling all over Wales” but have since jumped into bed with the Tories and willingly handed over the hard-won democratic responsibilities of our national parliament, without a fight.
It falls once again to Plaid Cymru to defend Wales’s interests.
Plaid Cymru has submitted amendments to the Bill based on previous amendments introduced by the Labour-run Welsh Government.
Submitting these amendments, based on the original joint Welsh Government and Scottish Government amendments will give the Labour Party a chance to redeem themselves.
It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn to pick a side. Will he work with Plaid Cymru and the Scottish Government to stop this power-grab or will he side with the hapless Labour Party in Wales and put the future of our country in the hands of Westminster Tories?