Plaid Cymru has described the Westminster Government’s Internal Market Bill a “power grab” following the publication of a whitepaper on the legislation.

The Bill, which was announced in the House of Commons today, would see Westminster take control of a number of policy areas where changes could come into place as a result of Brexit.

Under current legislation areas such as state aid are devolved to Wales, but following the Brexit transition period the Westminster Government has indicated that they would want to take control of this policy area, among others.

The proposals would effectively also see matters such as food standards in Wales and the other devolved administrations decided by Westminster as a result of future trade agreements. This would mean that Wales would, for example, have no ability to stop the sale of US chlorinated chicken if agreed to by the Government in Westminster.

During a statement on the legislation in the House of Commons, Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams MP asked:

“Thirty-five years ago in 1985, the then Tory European Commissioner’s white paper detailed 300 legislative proposals to complete the European Single Market and that with a seven-year deadline.

“On the ‘UK Internal Market’, this Tory government is giving a four-week consultation over the summer.

“Persuasive evidence, were it needed, that the UK internal market is first and foremost a convenient headline - a veneer lacking detail or a legal basis.

Will he concede that the only certainty is that this Bill is a power-grab retaining, yes retaining, vast powers over devolved areas to Tory ministers?"

Following the statement, Hywel Williams said:

“We have long warned that the Conservative Westminster Government was ready to grab powers back and this Bill marks another step down that path. Two referendums and two decades of devolution are being undermined.

“No one wants to scupper trade in the UK, so you can only conclude the Westminster Government is either paranoid or simply does not want to give Wales the power that it needs to let it stand on its own two feet.

“Four weeks consultation, no process to agree how this will work, and the ability for Westminster to simply overrule Wales makes it clear that the Conservative’s don’t want to work together with our nation, just rule over it. ”