ST David’S Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:21 pm on 28th February 2019.

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Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales 2:21 pm, 28th February 2019

I am disappointed by the approach the hon. Gentleman is taking. On the one hand, he, like many other Members in the House, will point to individual companies that are fearful of a no-deal Brexit, or farming unions and other organisations that have said they are fearful of or do not want to face a no-deal Brexit. On the other hand, however, such Members are not prepared to take the advice of those companies or farming unions that are urging them to support the Prime Minister’s deal. On that basis, they are being highly selective. The best way to secure a smooth exit from the European Union and to act on the instruction of the referendum is to support the Prime Minister’s deal. When that debate comes, I hope that Members will look at themselves and think long and hard about the risks they are taking with the Welsh economy and the UK economy if they vote against the Prime Minister’s deal, which offers us a smooth exit from the European Union and access to the European market, while confirming our position as an independent trading nation.

I wish to highlight my positive relationship with the Welsh Government, our negotiations on Brexit, and the legislative consent motion that we secured for the withdrawal Bill. The Welsh Government sit on the Cabinet sub-committee that considers preparations for Brexit, which is positive, and I hope that they will extend similar respect and opportunity for UK Government representatives to sit on their committees, because of the importance of leaving the EU in a conjoined way.

I point to the UK industrial strategy and the city deals. It was a privilege to launch the Cardiff capital region city deal plan this morning, and we are working closely with the Welsh Government on the Swansea city deal. North Wales has been mentioned on several occasions, and I am open to considering additional or different projects as a result of recent economic announcements about pausing work on the nuclear power station on Anglesey, rather than scrapping or suspending it as has been suggested. There is also the mid-Wales growth deal.

Finally, for a demonstration of joint working with the Welsh Government and local authorities across Wales, in a couple of weeks, together with local authority representatives, I will launch the first ever catalogue of Welsh projects at the MIPIM conference, to attract international investment because of the new opportunities that Brexit will bring.