The Economy and Brexit

Jun 7, 2017 | Articles, Assembly Business, Assembly Issues | 0 comments

Plenary Wednesday 07 June 2017

16:24:46

Spoken Contribution – 16:24:46
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Thanks to Plaid for bringing today’s motion. Some of the ideas that they have we do actually partially agree with. On the funding issue, UKIP has always stated that funding to Wales lost from EU funding should be replaced by funding from Westminster. We have consistently supported that demand. We were speaking earlier about the procurement rules. Adam Price was talking about it. Now, the procurement rules of the EU do inhibit contracts from being given to British companies. This will change with Brexit. We agree that power over procurement is a tool we should use in future to boost employment. I’m not convinced that that power should be devolved to the Assembly, though, because it may be more effectively wielded at the UK-wide level.

We don’t agree with the idea of a Welsh migration service. I’m not sure how it would be workable. Now, Adam did at least cite an example of a system where they do have it, apparently, in Canada. I confess I don’t know a lot about it, and I would have to research how it works there. But, unfortunately—[Interruption.] Yes, of course, Google. But he only mentioned it today. We will do Google, and we’ll do Wikipedia, too. It would have been useful—[Interruption.] It would have been useful if you could have actually articulated today, perhaps, how that system works. But given the time constraints of a 30-minute debate, perhaps that was difficult to achieve.

There will be public anxieties about how such a system would work. How will you stop people moving from Wales, where they would have a visa to work, into England, where they wouldn’t have a visa? The UK border agency is struggling to deal with illegal immigration as it is, and this scheme will just make their job much harder. It seems to me to be a back-door way of actually keeping freedom of movement, which to me would be a negation of the Brexit vote. And, of course, Wales did vote to leave, the same as England.

We also don’t agree with your proposal that the Welsh Assembly—

Spoken Contribution – 16:26:57
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I can’t take interventions this week, Rhun, because it’s election week. Back to normal next week. [Laughter.]

Spoken Contribution – 16:27:04
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It is. I like to come up with new ideas—

Spoken Contribution – 16:27:15
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We don’t agree with your proposal that the Assembly should have veto power over any Brexit deal. I appreciate Dai Rees has just made some arguments to the contrary of what I’m going to say, but the Welsh Assembly doesn’t have any devolved powers to deal with immigration or international trade. What would actually happen if Theresa May did negotiate a Brexit deal and then the Welsh Assembly actually vetoed such a deal? You would simply provoke a constitutional crisis that could leave many people to question the very existence of the Welsh Assembly itself. So, my advice on the question of the Brexit veto is to tread very carefully. Thank you.