Mid and West Wales AM Simon Thomas says the Welsh Government’s draft Brexit continuity bill is a ‘toothless tiger’ if it is not to be used.
Shadow Minister for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Mr Thomas was responding to a delay in UK ministers’ timetable for changing the EU Withdrawal Bill, coming after changes to the EU withdrawal bill proposed by the Welsh and Scottish governments failed to pass a vote in the house of commons in December.
Opposition parties in Wales argue that unless the amendments are brought forward, the bill could allow the Westminster goverment to overrule the devolved administration in Cardiff.
Both Welsh and Scottish parliaments have now drafted legislation intended to protect devolved powers after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.
“The Welsh and Scottish Governments were given assurances that Theresa May’s Government would respect devolution, but its lack of action means that ammendments will have to be put forward in the unelected House of Lords rather than by MPs,” he said.
“This failure puts the ball in the Labour Government in Wales’ court. They should use the European Union Continuity Bill they have already drafted to make sure that Westminster does not take control of devolved powers that have come to Wales.”
“The Welsh EU Continuity Bill will be a toothless tiger if it is not triggered.
“Why not now bring forward your own Continuity Bill which you have prepared, which is ready, which you can now use as a belts and braces approach to ensure that we do not lose out on the future arrangements as we leave the European Union,” he added.
Speaking in the house of commons during last week’s Prime Minister’s questions, Theresa May said the UK government was still working on the amendments.
“We are looking to work with the devolved administrations to ensure that we put the right frameworks in place so that when we come to bring any amendment forward it is being done in the best possible way in the interests of all concerned,” she said.