Wales Bill - Report (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 14th December 2016.

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Photo of Lord Wigley Lord Wigley Plaid Cymru 6:30 pm, 14th December 2016

My Lords, I shall speak briefly to Amendment 14 and the other amendments in the group which have been tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan of Ely, seeking to devolve the trust ports to the National Assembly for Wales. I have added my name to Amendments 14 to 22.

The noble Baroness’s amendments were debated at the previous stage of the Bill, and I would like to remind the House of a point on which we were all agreed: the fact that Milford Haven is of strategic significance. It is unique in that it has a deep-water facility and handles 62% of all our liquefied natural gas, and as such it is of economic importance to Pembrokeshire. It was included in the Silk report and the St David’s Day agreement. To my mind, the reasoning behind this reservation is totally unclear. On the previous occasion, the Minister implied that the Government were unwilling to compromise on this matter, stating that reserving Milford Haven was an essential part of the Bill. He went on to assure noble Lords that he would take another look at the arguments set out and report back on his conclusions. I look forward to hearing them.

I want to reiterate that I am in full agreement that Milford Haven should be devolved. There is, however, one deeply troubling comment that I wish to raise again, and that is that Milford Haven trust port was at one stage being suggested by the current First Minister of Wales as a base for the UK nuclear fleet. He went on to say that the Government are not considering that option, but using the hosting of Trident as a way to emphasise the strategic significance of the port immediately rang alarm bells. Devolved or reserved, Trident is not welcome in Wales, and I urge both the Government and the Opposition to put on the record today that they do not intend to acquire powers in order to justify locating it there. However, I am very much in agreement with the main points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan, in Committee. I beg to move.