Party pushes Continuity Bill as antidote to Westminster “overriding democracy”
Leanne Wood has demanded that the British Government “treat Wales with the respect we deserve”, during a debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill which will take powers away from Wales.
Wood and Steffan Lewis AM rounded on the Westminster proposals to place a new ceiling on the legislative competence of the Assembly as the country leaves the European Union.
The UK Government plans have been met with widespread condemnation in the devolved countries.
The National Assembly voted to suspend its standing orders so that a debate could be held opposing the UK Government bill. The joint debate motion from Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government means that around two thirds of all AMs have rejected the UK Government’s Withdrawal Bill, and that Plaid Cymru’s aim for a Continuity Bill is now national policy.
A Continuity Bill will aim to enshrine EU law in Welsh law, before the EU Withdrawal Bill can take effect.
However, the Plaid Cymru Leader was critical of the fact that the Labour Government has been slow to produce a Continuity bill. Her party first called for a Continuity Bill in November 2016, but Labour has repeatedly failed to introduce one. Leanne Wood and her Shadow Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, Steffan Lewis, indicated that they would hold the Labour Government to account on its commitment.
Leanne Wood commented:
“We should be under no illusions about the UK Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill. It is nothing less than an attempt to tighten London’s grip on Wales.
“The people of Wales have voted twice to empower our own Welsh democracy and our own national institutions. This EU Withdrawal Bill overrides and overrules those votes in a way which is unacceptable.
“We cannot have a specific type of EU withdrawal whereby this National Assembly- the future Welsh Parliament- is undermined or belittled.
“People in Wales want their country to be respected and listened to. Taking back control must mean powers coming to Wales. It means that Westminster must treat this country with the respect we deserve.”
Demanding an EU Continuity Bill, Steffan Lewis AM said:
“I welcome the fact that today’s commitment to the publication of a Continuity Bill for Wales.
“The Welsh Government has previously published an alternative Wales Bill with a clear political objective a Continuity Bill could do the same in addition to the practical benefit of providing clarity and continuity for Welsh citizens and key sectors of our economy and communities.
“Not to do so would be a dereliction of our duty to uphold the expressed wishes of the people of Wales in terms of how they have decided they want to be governed.
“We waited six hundred years for home rule, we cannot allow it to be eroded within the next six months by a mob in Westminster with no mandate to do so.”