THE Labour Government must not co-operate with the Westminster Government on the Internal Market Bill until it “fundamentally” changes its approach, Plaid Cymru has said.
It has been described by both Plaid Cymru and the SNP as a “power grab”.
The Internal Market Bill is expected to be published later this week and will allow the UK Government to decide how the devolved nations will interact with the UK Government post-Brexit.
Writing to Welsh Government Minister for European Transition Jeremy Miles, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy Helen Mary Jones MS said that the UK Government was acting in “bad faith” and said the nature of the consultation and proposals contained within the White Paper ‘made a mockery out of devolution’.
Scotland’s constitution minister, Mike Russell MSP, has said that “the Scottish Government could not, and would not, accept any such plans. Nor would we co-operate with them.”
Ms Jones said the Welsh Government should take the same approach unless the Westminster Government “fundamentally” changed how it was operating in relation to this Bill.
Helen Mary Jones MS said,
“The proposals [outlined in the White Paper] will see devolved governments having to accept products and services designed to lower standards in other parts of the UK even in devolved areas.
“There are no details on dispute resolution; bodies and structures created to oversee the UK internal Market must be fully independent and equally accountable to Senedd Cymru, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the UK Parliament.
“It is clear that the UK Government is acting in bad faith and that, given the length and nature of the consultation, the legislation will be in line with the harmful proposals contained within the white paper.
“Ahead of the publication of the legislation this week, I urge you to follow in the Scottish Government’s footsteps and clearly express your refusal to co-operate with the UK Government on these matters until it fundamentally changes its approach.
Helen Mary Jones MS added,
“This is a power grab. It is as simple as that. From the laughably short amount of time given for consultation, the fact that this legislation was not proposed jointly with the devolved nations, to the harmful proposals contained within the White Paper itself this entire saga makes a mockery out of devolution.
“The Scottish Government have already said they will no longer co-operate with the Westminster Government until it changes their approach. It’s time the Welsh Government showed it was equally willing to defend devolution.
“Do right by the people of Wales. Do right by devolution. Stand up to Westminster and demand that Wales be given the power that it needs to stand on its own two feet.