Brexit used by Westminster to undermine Wales claims Mark Drakeford

Brexit 'will take longer to bring big benefits' says Davis

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Brexit has been used to undermine the authority of the Welsh government, Mark Drakeford claimed today. The Welsh First Minister demanded a change in the law to boost the authority of the Welsh Parliament following the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Labour politician claimed that the UK Government had used Brexit to exploit its power and to legislate on matters devolved to Wales.

Mr Drakeford claimed that a convention set up in 1999 to ensure the Senedd is consulted on matters which might impact areas of devolved policy was being ignored.

“The Sewel Convention isn’t working,” he told MPs on the Welsh select committee.

“For nearly 20 years the Sewel Convention was observed by all Governments, including Governments of different political persuasion.

“The convention is there to ensure that when a UK Government has legislative proposals that might intrude into devolved areas, they only take those proposals forward where they have secured the consent of the devolved legislature.”

He said that custom was “first breached over Brexit legislation”.

Mr Drakeford said the Government had argued the convention could not apply as the situation was “not normal”.

He added: “The problem is, that ever since we have seen the UK Government prepared to use – to override the Sewel Convention – in situations that could in no stretch of the imagination be described as ‘not normal’.

“And that has brought the Sewel Convention into a very difficult place indeed.”

The First Minister said that the UK Government could only now regain the trust of Wales if the Sewel Convention was written into law, giving No10 no choice but to consult with the devolved administration.

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“We need to re-establish the way in which the convention was respected from 1999-2019,” he said.

“I’m afraid, because confidence has been lost in it, we have to go further than that and we have to entrench the way in which the Sewel convention operates.”

Wales is not the only devolved nation to criticise the UK Government for undermining the Sewel Convention.

Earlier this year a Scottish Parliament committee said there were “considerable” concerns about the way Westminster had used Brexit to undermine the convention.

In September, Holyrood’s Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee said the convention was being breached on an ad hoc basis “without any overarching consideration of the impact on how devolution works”.

Committee convener Clare Adamson MSP said there was “a significant risk to the balance of power between the Executive and the Legislature both at a UK and devolved level”.

Meanwhile, Unionists in Belfast argue the Northern Ireland Protocol was a breach of the Sewel Convention as they did not give consent for the nation’s unique post-Brexit trading situation.

Express.co.uk has contacted the Levelling Up Department, which is responsible for relations with devolved administrations, for comment.

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