The Brexit Select Committee report has called on the Prime Minister to make the UK Government’s position on continued membership of the single market and customs union clear before Article 50 is triggered, thanks to an amendment by Wales’ MP on the committee, Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards.
The Plaid Cymru MP welcomed the Committee’s concession and congratulated the chair for producing the report despite polarised opinions on the committee. However, he criticised other Members on the committee for blocking important amendments, including on calling for the devolved nations to endorse the final terms of the negotiations.
Mr Edwards noted disappointment at the behaviour of Labour MPs on the Committee, accusing them of failing to stand up to the Tories and blocking their Welsh Government colleagues from having a say on matters of national importance.
He challenged the Prime Minister to respect the unanimous view of the Committee and “come clean” on continued membership of the single market and customs union before Article 50 is triggered, highlighting that even Brexiteers on the committee supported the amendment.
Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Brexit spokesperson and Wales’ MP on the Brexit Select Committee, Jonathan Edwards, said:
“The Chair must be congratulated for producing this report despite the very polarised opinions on the Committee, and I’m pleased the Committee conceded on my amendment.
“Theresa May must come clean on continued membership of the single market and the customs union, and she must do it before Article 50 is triggered. I am pleased the committee supported my amendment and stress that even the Brexiteers on the Committee backed this call.
“While people may have voted to leave the European Union, they did not vote on what our future trading relationship should look like. They certainly did not vote to make themselves redundant or to give themselves a pay cut. Both the single market and the customs union are crucial to Wales as an exporting nation. 200,000 Welsh jobs depend on our trade with European Union and as someone whose job it is to represent my constituents and my compatriots, I cannot be expected to vote for something without knowing what effect it will have on those I am here to represent. The Prime Minister must respect the Committee’s demands and make this clear before Article 50 is triggered.
“I am dismayed that my attempts to ensure the report recognised that different UK countries voted in different ways and for the devolved Parliaments to have to endorse the final terms of the negotiations were blocked by the Westminster parties. Every single EU member state will have a veto over these negotiations, along with a raft of sub-state regions in Europe as well. Meanwhile it appears that Labour and Tory MPs believe that the future deal should be determined unilaterally by Westminster - the so called partnership of equals only goes so far.
“By blocking my amendments to give Wales a voice, the Labour MPs on the Committee have effectively gagged their Welsh Government colleagues. That should ring major alarm bells for us in Wales. Westminster is intent on turning the UK into a unilateral state, dictating everything from Westminster, regardless of the needs and interests of Wales.
“It is now perfectly clear that the Labour Party is irrelevant. They are never going to stand up for Wales against the Tories and unless Wales begins to flex its muscles we will be even more marginalised in post-Brexit Britain under a right-wing Tory government and a weak and feeble opposition.”