.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Are the Welsh and Scottish Governments tilting at windmills?

The EU Withdrawal Bill, which secured its second reading this week, is an appalling piece of legislation. It hands unprecedented powers to UK Ministers, whilst rolling back devolution by centralising powers at Westminster. The Welsh and Scottish Governments are quite right to want to oppose it.

The chosen method of resistance by both Governments is to table a Legislative Consent Motion so as to vote it down, effectively withholding their consent. A Legislative Consent Motion is a device that is required whenever Westminster introduces a law which impinges on the powers of a devolved body such as the Welsh Assembly.

This happens more often than one would think because of the way powers overlap and sometimes because the devolved Government finds it more convenient for Westminster to legislate on their behalf as part of a UK or an England and Wales approach.

However, it is not the case that if a Legislative Consent Motion is rejected then Westminster is forbidden from going ahead with its changes. At the end of the day the UK Parliament is sovereign and has the right and the power to override a devolved legislature if it wishes. Whether a UK Government chooses to overrule is a matter of political judgement.

I can think of two or three occasions when the Welsh Assembly has rejected an LCM, but has been ignored by the Westminster Government. The question therefore is whether Theresa May will respect the wishes of Wales and Scotland on the EU Withdrawal Bill if, as expected they vote down the necessary LCM?

As Wales-on-line reports the stakes are pretty high. They say that the Bill is designed to ensure the UK does not face chaos on the day after Brexit. It would put European Union law onto the statute book but it does so by giving UK ministers powers to change legislation:

Carwyn Jones sets out his concerns, saying: “These powers would allow a Minister of the Crown to unilaterally amend legislation that is within the legislative competence of the Assembly... The scrutiny obligation would then be discharged by Parliament rather than the Assembly.

“Those powers could also be used to amend the Government of Wales Act 2006, without any requirement for the Assembly’s approval.”

There is room for compromise but if, once talks are concluded, Wales and Scotland are not satisfied and reject their respective Legislative Consent Motions, UK Ministers have a choice, do they go back to the negotiating table or do they press on regardless?

It is possible that for all the sound and fury, Wales and Scotland are just tilting at windmills and are helpless to stop Theresa May doing as she wishes.
Everyone Matters (north wales Lib dems, no longer Activate) are giving the party a new direction to go in. Whilst the party can still be political, slagging the govnt. off etc. They are showing a new idea ,a way to go forward.we should consider building on it.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?