New shadow arrives amid Wales Office memories

Welsh Secretaries Image copyright Wales Office
Image caption Stephen Crabb and David Jones among other Welsh secretaries in 2014 on the 50th anniversary of the role.

"Full and interesting advice surgery this morning in Haverfordwest," reports the local MP, Stephen Crabb. "A variety of issues raised - arts funding, farming, social care, and many others. Nobody mentioned Europe, Brexit or Article 50."

The priorities of the good people of Pembrokeshire may serve as a reality check to those of us who have reported little other than Europe, Brexit or Article 50 this past fortnight (although constituency surgeries may usually feature more personal concerns).

The European Union (Notice of Withdrawal) Bill - all 137 words of it - has now cleared the House of Commons and enters the House of Lords unamended. What did we learn during its Commons stages?

'Centre stage'

Tribal loyalties sometimes mean Labour MPs don't support Plaid Cymru amendments even when they agree with them but 267 MPs backed a Plaid amendment to require the UK government to update the Welsh Assembly on the impact of Brexit. That may be a record for any Plaid amendment (you'll thank me if it comes up in a pub quiz) but the government won the vote, and every other division, comfortably.

The Commons stages were also notable for the return to centre stage of David Jones, now arguably the most powerful Welsh MP two and a half years after his sacking as secretary of state for Wales.

Read full article New shadow arrives amid Wales Office memories

EU Bill clears first hurdle amid Labour disarray

Kevin Brennan MP
Image caption 'I have taken the unusual step of listening to the debate, rather than contributing to it' - Kevin Brennan MP.

Kevin Brennan may be a wannabe rock star but he is not a serial rebel. His rare votes against the party line are all the more noteworthy for that.

The Cardiff West MP was one of 10 Labour frontbenchers who voted against the triggering of Article 50 in the Commons on Wednesday night.

Read full article EU Bill clears first hurdle amid Labour disarray

Wales Bill 'not the end of the story', says ex-minister

MPs vote on the Wales Bill.
Image caption The last vote on what will become the Wales Act 2017.

It was said to offer a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to draw a line under this ongoing, endless debate that we seem to have in Wales about devolution and further powers".

The aim was "a lasting and fair devolution settlement for Wales". David Cameron (remember him) talked of "an enduring settlement for Wales which works for Wales today, tomorrow and for generations to come".

Read full article Wales Bill 'not the end of the story', says ex-minister

Welsh Government claims 'victory' in Brexit case

David Cornock and Mick Antoniw
Image caption 'It's certainly a victory' - Counsel General Mick Antoniw explains his view of the Supreme Court judgement to me.

As victories go, there have been more obvious triumphs.

Eleven Supreme Court judges unanimously rejected the Welsh Government's argument for AMs to be consulted before the UK government triggers Article 50 and formal divorce talks with the European Union.

Read full article Welsh Government claims 'victory' in Brexit case

Is Theresa May for turning over Welsh Brexit blueprint?

Neil Hamilton AM
Image caption 'Not so much a white paper as a white flag" - UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton prepares for a TV interview.

The Welsh Government chose to launch its Brexit white paper - Securing Wales' Future - in London.

Theresa May and her cabinet were in the north-west of England at the time, launching their industrial strategy, but the Welsh document will not have gone unnoticed in Westminster.

Read full article Is Theresa May for turning over Welsh Brexit blueprint?

Minister promises Welsh Brexit plan 'next week'

Mark Drakeford AM
Image caption "We will set out in full those matters that are of greatest significance to Wales" - Mark Drakeford on the Welsh Government's Brexit plan

Did the dog eat the Welsh Government's homework?

The snappily-acronymed JMC (EN) met in the Cabinet Office for almost two hours on Thursday morning; on the agenda, papers from the Scottish government and Northern Ireland executive on Brexit.

Read full article Minister promises Welsh Brexit plan 'next week'

Theresa May's Brexit Welsh powers pledge

Alun Cairns MP
Image caption Alun Cairns: 'Maintaining membership of the single market is effectively remaining part of the European Union by another name'

"The economic argument trumps everything else," said the secretary of state. "At the end of the day this is down to the economy, jobs, jobs, jobs."

There were, he said, 100,000 jobs in Wales directly linked to our place in Europe. "Business leaders tell me that they rely on our links with a market of 500 million people - that's a vast trading bloc that takes more than 40 per cent of the goods we export."

Read full article Theresa May's Brexit Welsh powers pledge

'A lot to be very proud of' - Corbyn on Labour in Wales

Jeremy Corbyn and David Cornock
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn: 'Allowing Wales to set its own immigration rules would be "fraught with difficulties'

For a man who's had better New Years, Jeremy Corbyn seemed chipper enough.

He may be under fire from his own MPs on Brexit and immigration, and his shadow defence secretary may be "absolutely furious" about his views on Nato, but the Labour leader was relaxed when we met in his Commons office on Thursday morning.

Read full article 'A lot to be very proud of' - Corbyn on Labour in Wales

'Super-narrow squeak' over Welsh powers Bill

A clerk consults standing orders as peers await the result of the Wales Bill vote.
Image caption A clerk consults standing orders as peers await the result of the Wales Bill vote.

They don't do penalty shoot-outs in the House of Lords. Instead, they have standing order 56 to decide drawn matches.

Last night's tied vote on the Wales Bill - on a Labour amendment to devolve industrial relations in devolved public services - had clerks reaching for the rulebook.

Read full article 'Super-narrow squeak' over Welsh powers Bill

Cairns slays the dragon as peers scrutinise Wales Bill

Wales Office and UK Government logos Image copyright UK Government
Image caption Exit the dragon? The Wales Office has re-branded.

For many, it's been the pressing issue of 2016, its every twist and turn followed with increasing fascination by politicos up and down Wales.

It's been the dominant topic of conversation whenever political anoraks have gathered together, its implications for Wales's future pored over at length.

Read full article Cairns slays the dragon as peers scrutinise Wales Bill