The Westminster Parliament has blocked amendments from the Scottish and Welsh Governments to protect Welsh devolution in votes in the House of Commons early hours this morning.
The Scottish and Welsh Governments, with the support of Plaid Cymru, tabled amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill in order to amend a Clause which set out to see that powers in devolved areas are intercepted by Westminster.
During the debate, Conservative MP and Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee, David T.C. Davies admitted that the Withdrawal Bill is power-grab. He said: "it is a power-grab, of course it's a power-grab, a wonderful power grab it is too."
The Wales Act 2017 dictates that the National Assembly for Wales will have responsibility for all matters not listed in the list of powers reserved to Westminster. Without clause 11 of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, powers being repatriated from Brussels in areas not on the list of reserved powers, such as agriculture, the environment and transport, would therefore go straight to the National Assembly. Clause 11 will ensure that Westminster intercepts those powers.
An example of the impact of the power-grab
Stronger children's rights protections exist in the devolved nations, and Ministers in Wales are statutorily obliged to have due regard to children's rights, as expressed in the UN convention on the rights of the child, when exercising any of their functions, unlike in England. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill will remove the basic children's rights safeguards offered by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and prevent devolved nations from upholding the present arrangements and commitments to children's rights into the future.
Speaking after the early morning vote, local MP Jonathan Edwards said:
"More than 70% of Carmarthenshire voters endorsed our National Assembly being a law-making parliament just a few years ago.
"Not a single person voted for the Westminster establishment to completely undermine that democrat vote in its brazen efforts to undo devolution. It is a very dark day for democracy indeed.
"The UK is State consisting of four countries, not just one, but Westminster today voted to ensure that only one should be able to govern itself."
Plaid Cymru's Brexit spokesperson, Hywel Williams MP said:
"Westminster's worst colours were exposed tonight, with unionist MPs rising one after the other to argue against Wales's national interest, and in favour of reversing twenty years of devolution, reinstating direct Westminster-rule over Wales.
"The Withdrawal Bill is being used by Westminster, not to take back control from Brussels but to take back control from the three devolved countries in the UK.
"Both the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government have made it clear that they oppose this power-grab but Westminster tonight voted to proceed regardless of the fact that two of the UK's member countries are completely opposed to it"