Saturday, 25 June 2016

Brexit and Wales

It has been a while since I felt compelled to comment on Welsh politics but the events of the past 48 hours and the decision of the UK and Wales to vote for Brexit in my view throws up a great number of interesting questions.

Most people it seems have spent the last 24 hours in a state of shock and disbelief with most discussions seeming to focus on "how did this happen?"

However whether you campaigned for remain or leave we will soon need to look at what this means for the future of Welsh politics.

It seems to me that the result will lead to a significant shift of power from Brussels to Westminster, but because of devolution much of the power will actually head down the M4 to Cardiff Bay.  The result was such a shock I suspect the Welsh Government has done little if any Brexit planning but it will need to move fast to take advantage.

The full implications will take a few weeks to become clear but here am some initial thoughts/questions?

  • Will the Assembly need more members to cope with the new responsibilities?
  • Will the Wales Bill now need further revision to ensure that the Welsh Government can fully control areas such as agriculture which were previously part of the common agricultural policy?
  • Welsh Government will need to move quickly to make sure it is part of the trade negotiations that will be starting around the world.
  • Given much of the new responsibility will be with us in 2 - 3 years will we need another Assembly election sooner rather than later? (possibly with more members being elected)
  • Will we need new departments and ministers in Welsh Government to prepare for the changes ahead?
  • How quickly can Wales secure a new funding settlement with the UK government? (when a new one is formed)

Whilst few in Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru campaigned for Brexit the result will significantly strengthen Welsh politics and I hope when the shock has subsided the Welsh political classes will be bold enough to make the most of the opportunities ahead.

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