First Minister Mark Drakeford’s decision to repeal the Welsh Continuity Act has ‘backfired in spectacular fashion’ as the UK Supreme Court confirmed it has backed the Scottish Continuity Act.
When the UK Government challenged the Welsh and Scottish legislation in May, the Labour Welsh Government folded and agreed to a ‘deal’ while the SNP led Scottish Government stuck to their guns and defended their constitutional rights in the Supreme Court.
The First Minister, Mr Drakeford, who was the minister responsible for Brexit at the time, wagered that the Scottish Continuity Bill would be struck down by the Supreme Court leaving Scotland without defensive legislation or an inter-governmental agreement with the UK Government.
He then went ahead and voluntarily repealed the Welsh Continuity Act, despite no legal imperative for doing so before the Supreme Court had delivered its judgement. Had he stalled then Wales would now find itself in the strongest constitutional position possible.
Continuity legislation in Wales and Scotland enshrined EU rules and regulations in Welsh and Scottish law, which would have prevented the Tory government in Westminster from legislating in devolved fields after Brexit.
Responding to the Supreme Court’s decision, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said:
“The First Minister’s first act will have to be admitting his wrongdoing in capitulating to the shambolic Tory government in Westminster over the Brexit power grab.
“Mark Drakeford’s whole argument for repealing the Welsh Continuity Act was premised on his belief that the Scottish Government would lose the Supreme Court case over their equivalent Bill. He said that if Scotland lost they would have nothing, while Wales would still have its paltry agreement with the UK Tory Government.
“Drakeford’s wager backfired in spectacular fashion. Scotland won which means their powers are legally protected. It is Wales therefore that is left with nothing but a bad deal which gives away Welsh powers to Tory ministers with no guarantee we will ever get them back.
“What makes this worse is that it was not necessary to repeal the Welsh Continuity Act ahead of today’s announcement. He cashed in too soon out of incomprehensible deference to Westminster, leaving Wales to pick up the constitutional tab.
“Labour’s actions have left Wales at the mercy of a shambolic Tory Westminster Government that is currently in complete disarray. Only a Plaid Cymru-led Welsh Government can be trusted to represent the best interests of the people of Wales.”
"Plaid Cymru believes a summit of nations should now be convened as soon as possible in order to deliver home rule for the countries of the UK and ensure that Brexit isn't used to take powers away from nations against their will."
“I congratulate the Scottish Government’s victory in the Supreme Court. Constitutional justice has prevailed.