I refer Members to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. This is an important debate for me, considering that I represent Bridgend, a constituency in Wales, which stands to benefit greatly from ensuring that our internal market within the UK remains intact, as it has for hundreds of years. I am proud to say that if the pollsters are to be believed, Wales is now the most Unionist part of the UK, and my constituents voted leave in 2016 and, of course, backed the “get Brexit done” party at the last election. On those bases, and as a staunch Unionist myself, I will support the passage of the Bill through this place.
On the issue of one single internal market, I just cannot imagine a scenario where a Bridgend-based business is unable to export its goods or services, or faces difficulty in exporting its goods or services, to England, Scotland or Northern Ireland. The internal market is vital to the whole of the Welsh economy, and illustrative figures from the White Paper show that any contraction to the GDP of Wales will be five times greater than that of the UK average. I pledged to my constituents to help to make a success of Brexit, and allowing economic barriers between any parts of the UK clearly runs contrary to that.
The people of Bridgend have two Governments: the Welsh Government and the UK Government, and I am particularly pleased that the Bill will facilitate the latter to invest in businesses and communities across Wales as we recover from covid-19, and I look forward to meeting Ministers to talk about my ideas on how that could be done. To those who argue that somehow the Bill undermines devolution, I remind them that many of the powers ceded to the EU, many of which were ceded before devolution existed, will be transferred to the devolved Administration. Around 60 to 70 new policy areas will now be decided in Cardiff Bay, making the Welsh Government more powerful than it has ever been. For those reasons, I will support the Government tonight, and do so wholeheartedly.