Mark Drakeford delivers speech at Leaders’ Debate
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The Labour-led Welsh Government has been given permission to lodge a judicial review against the UK Government’s UK Internal Market Bill. The UK Government passed the UK Internal Market Bill as a solution to creating a secure platform for UK trade after Britain fully cut ties with the EU.
Under the legislation, measures that were previously managed by the EU would be passed to the devolved administrations at Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont.
Up to 160 policy areas including animal welfare, public procurement rules and environmental regulations will go to one or more of the devolved administrations.
But the Welsh Government along with the Northern Ireland Assembly and Scottish Parliament raised concerns the new laws would restrict the devolved parliament’s powers.
All three parliaments refused to give legal consent to the Bill, but this was overridden by Westminster.
In a Court of Appeal ruling, judges decided the Welsh Government could challenge the bill.
Counsel General for Wales and Constitution Minister Mick Antoniw said the case will raise important issues of principle on the “constitutional relationship between the Senedd and the Parliament of the UK”.
The MS said the Welsh Government was taking the steps to “protect the Senedd from the attack on its competence” created by the UK internal market bill.
Predecessor Jeremy Miles wrote to the UK Government in December expressing concerns about the post-Brexit laws, but the former Welsh Government Minister claims their concerns were ignored and sought permission for a judicial review from the High Court in January 2021.
However, ministers were refused permission for a High Court legal challenge in April and Ministers subsequently appealed the verdict to the Court of Appeal.
But Darren Millar, Welsh Conservative Constitution spokesman said Welsh Ministers were using the case to develop a “power base”.
The Clwyd West MS added: “The Welsh public will be very surprised that the Labour-run Welsh Government is focusing its efforts on yet more legal action and its own power base rather than Wales’ economic recovery, particularly given the legal challenge is against an Act that allows Welsh businesses to continue trading seamlessly with Wales’ most important market – the rest of the UK.
“The bill ensures there are no barriers to internal trade and will protect Welsh jobs, businesses and livelihoods, whilst it also enjoyed cross-party support in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
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“The Welsh Parliament now has more powers than it did at any time when the UK was part of the EU, and it’s about time the Welsh Labour Government focused its energies on the day-job and used the powers they have available to rebuild the Welsh economy and protect people’s livelihoods.”
A UK Government spokesperson said the move was “disappointing” and stressed the act would protect “Welsh jobs, businesses and livelihoods.”
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