Plaid Cymru MP grills the Wales Office on its diminishing functions
During today’s (15 May) Wales Oral Questions, Plaid Cymru MP, Hywel Williams¸ called into question the purpose of the Wales Office, highlighting the Secretary of State for Wales’s poor track record on delivering infrastructure projects in Wales.
The MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams¸ noted that it has been twenty years since devolution and the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales, which has seen the Welsh Government acquire legislative and taxation powers which previously sat with the British Government. There is much discussion about the function of the Wales Office and its diminished role as a result of the development of the devolution settlement.
Questioning Alun Cairns, the Secretary of State for Wales, in the House of Commons, Hywel Williams MP highlighted that the Wales Office does not have responsibility for any of the 300-odd Brexit work streams being run in Government, and asked what exactly his role entailed.
Plaid Cymru’s Brexit Spokesperson, Hywel Williams, said:
“Electrification of the rail west of Cardiff? Electrification of the north Wales line? A pipe dream. Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon? Cancelled. Wylfa Newydd? Cancelled. The post-Brexit Shared Prosperity Fund? Handed to an England-only department. The Wales Office have no Brexit responsibility exclusive to itself. This is a failed government, consumed by an expensive, pointless Tory Brexit.
“Isn’t the function of the Wales Office now just to nod through Conservative policies, whatever their cost to Wales?”
In his response, the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, failed to name any infrastructure projects he had delivered for Wales.
Commenting after the exchange, Hywel Williams MP said:
“We have had twenty years of devolution, and the Welsh Government now has legislative and taxation powers.
“Twenty years ago, our national parliament opened its doors for the first time, allowing Wales to enter the modern democratic world. Now, the Government’s disastrous Brexit policy threatens the future of our nation, with every possible Brexit outcome projected to negatively impact the Welsh economy.
“Brexit reflects a wider problem in how the Government treats Wales. Despite twenty years of devolution, the British Government still treats our nation with contempt.