Saturday, 23 July 2016

We need to appoint a Welsh Minister for Brexit.

Welsh First Minister  argument  that any future deal on Brexit should be ratified by all four UK parliaments, certainly has merit but  to my mind is a pipe dream.
He spoke after a meeting of the British Irish Council in Cardiff to discuss the UK's vote to leave the European Union.
Wales' first minister was joined at the "extraordinary summit" by his counterparts from Scotland and Northern Ireland, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and government representatives from Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
Mr Jones said Brexit was the biggest challenge the administrations gathered at the council have faced collectively.
Addressing a news conference after the meeting, on Friday, Mr Jones said there would be "fundamental changes" as a result of the EU referendum, adding: 
"During this tumultuous time, it is more important than ever to maintain the strength of this relationship and work together to map out a successful way forward."
He said the session had been "hugely helpful" in identifying challenges, with the council resolving to work together to find solutions.
The special session of the council was called by Mr Jones to discuss the implications of the Brexit vote, including replacing EU funding and questions over the land border between the UK and continuing EU member Ireland.
The call for "ratification" by the four UK parliaments however is interesting  in that whereas unlike Northern Ireland  and Scotland , Wales voted to leave  and the Welsh Assembly cannot argue that has a mandate to oppose Brexit.
Though of course it does not mean that we have no say in the Brexit negotiations
However the Welsh First Minister has not stated to what extent his "ratification" process could  be legally enforced.
The idea may be Carwyns idea as a committed Unionist  plan to prevent Scotland leaving the UK , by giving them a prospect that the Scottish Parliament  can "Block or Change" Brexit arrangements in their Interest.
Whether he sees himself conducting a similar role to a Scottish First Minister in "Block or Change" is open to question.
His past record in defending Welsh Interests is not brilliant  and we would need a more dynamic leader to carry this off.
Where does this leave the UK Parliament?
Does Carwyn's proposal mean that Westminster  should evoke  English votes for English Laws (EVEL) during the BREXIT  process as it could be argued that Scottish , Welsh and Northern Irish  interests have already (or will be)   been cared for by their own Legislators.
What Carwyn proposes as I said has merit in protecting Wales's interest in the Brexit negotiations .
But can we really see English MPs allowing any if the devolved powers the right to change or even veto any part of the process?
What this shows is the limits of the Federal solution for the UK in that England will not stomach a Federal Union that gives equal powers to the Celtic Nations.
This not an Anti-English  statement but a realisation  of current attitudes.
However it is highly important that Welsh Interests are heard over the long Brexit negotiations   and we need the Welsh Government  to appoint a Minister for Brexit who will represent Wales in any negotiations conducted by the Westminster government.

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