Wales gagged in Brexit negotiations

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The British Government has no plans to hold a future Joint Ministerial Committee for EU Negotiations, Plaid Cymru has revealed.

In an answer to a written parliamentary question tabled by Jonathan Edwards MP, the British Government confirmed that the formal sub-committee would be replaced by informal and undocumented bilateral discussions with the devolved governments.

The formal sub-committee was established by the British Government to conduct relations between the UK and devolved administrations in respect of withdrawal from the EU. A statement issued after the first JMC (EN) stated that meetings would be monthly. The sub-committee has not met since February 2017, meaning consultation with the devolved nations has and will continue to be ad-hoc and behind closed doors.

Wales’s economy, which relies heavily on goods exported to the European Single Market and on regional and agricultural funding, means that it has a very unique position to voice. Without being able to formally put forward the Welsh perspective through the JMC (EN), Wales risks having its needs ignored and forgotten by the British Government.

Jonathan Edwards MP, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU relations said:

“The British Government’s utter disrespect for the devolved nations never ceases to amaze me. Brexit Ministers in Westminster quite obviously regard formal mechanisms whereby the devolved nations can input into EU negotiations as dispensable. They are essentially placing a gagging order on Wales to progress with their ideological agenda.

“The JMC (EN), set up in 2016, was meant to meet monthly. The fact it has not met since February is, in itself, unforgiveable. To then hear that the British Government has no plans to ever hold one again in future is obscene. It confirms to me their intention to drive through a damaging Brexit at any expense.

“Wales’s economy, which relies heavily goods exported to the EU Single Market and on regional and agricultural funding, means that we have a very unique position to voice. Without being able to put forward the Welsh perspective to Brexit Ministers through the JMC (EN), we risk having our needs ignored and forgotten once again by the British Government.

“What’s more is that the Welsh Labour Government is obliging in this scandal. I call on the Brexit Ministers to reconsider and put a date for the next JMC (EN) in their diary and I call on Welsh Labour to force their hand.”

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