Wales and Scotland to take legal action against Boris’ Brexit trade plan

Brexit: Michael Russell delivers speech on impact on Scotland

The Labour-led Welsh Government is preparing legal action in the form of a judicial review against the UK Government’s UK Internal Market bill and the SNP-led Scottish government has said they will “work with Wales”. Boris Johnson’s Government presented the UK Internal Market Bill as a solution to creating a secure platform for UK trade after Britain fully cut ties with the EU.

It will also see measures which were previously managed by the EU return to the UK.

Around 160 policy areas including animal welfare, public procurement rules and environmental regulations will go to one or more of the devolved administrations.

But concerns were raised the new legislation, passed last month, would constrain the devolved parliament’s powers.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all refused to give legal consent to the Bill, but this was overridden by Westminster.

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Counsel General for Wales and Europe Minister Jeremy Miles said the Welsh Government was “in the process of preparing” its legal case of the “power grab act”.

The Labour Counsel General added: “Nobody wants to be in this situation.

“I was very clear that we wanted changes made to the Bill but the Bill was not changed in the way that we wanted.

“I do expect us to proceed with legal proceedings and I expect to be in a position to make a written statement to members next week updating them on that.”

Mr Miles wrote to the UK Government last month expressing concerns about the post-Brexit laws, but he claims their concerns were ignored.

The legal move has also been backed by the SNP led Scottish Government which claims devolution must be defended.

Michael Russell, Scotland’s Constitution Secretary, said: “It is now clear that people in Scotland face a fundamental choice over their future: between accepting a diminished Scottish Parliament, in which democratic decisions will be overridden at will by the UK Government, or becoming an independent country.

“The Scottish Government will, however, in all circumstances continue to do everything possible to defend devolution and this issue is far from concluded.

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“We, therefore, welcome and fully support the steps taken by the Welsh Government to notify the UK Government of its intention to seek a judicial review.

“We stand firmly alongside the Welsh Government with a shared determination to continue to challenge the Bill.

“We will work with Wales to consider the next legal and constitutional steps.”

However, the move has been criticised by Paul Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd claiming the devolved nations should accept the legislation and “move on”.


Speaking on BBC Politics Wales, he said: “I think the Welsh Government are still fighting old battles.

“What the Welsh Government should be doing is promoting Welsh businesses, making sure that Welsh businesses take the opportunities now that are available to them, not just with our European friends but across the world.”

A UK Government spokesperson branded the move as “disappointing”.

They added: “This vital Act will protect Welsh jobs, businesses and livelihoods – and has won cross-party support, including a number of Welsh MPs in Parliament.”

 

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