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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:38 pm on 13th January 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 9:38 pm, 13th January 2020

My Lords, thank you for allowing me to speak in the gap.

Wales voted to leave. In respecting that, we must maintain the coherence and cohesion of the union and avoid unintended consequences as negotiations progress and in the future. The devolution settlements are in primary legislation, and Wales, having supported Brexit, must not feel that the Government of Wales Act is threatened.

Negotiations which will have a huge impact on devolved policies and functions cannot be conducted without some meaningful involvement of the Senedd and the Welsh Government. It is not about vetoes; it is about real consultation. The Minister kindly met me recently, yet without reassurances to the Welsh Government on these key issues, there is a serious risk of a constitutional crisis if the legislative consent Motion is declined.

The maiden speeches that we heard today were both memorable. We ignore our populations and their devolved Governments at our peril.