Wales politics

Toxic for UK to take devolved powers through Brexit says Drakeford

Mark Drakeford
Image caption Mark Drakeford said he spoke to the Brexit secretary about the matter last week

Wales' finance secretary has warned UK ministers not to take "toxic" action to "roll back devolution" during Brexit.

Mark Drakeford said Theresa May had come "perilously close" to saying she intended to assume powers from Brussels in devolved areas such as agriculture.

He said there were signs UK ministers believed they should set up new structures across the United Kingdom.

Mr Drakeford said this would require legislation to reverse devolution, which would be "toxic" in Wales.

He was addressing MPs on the Exiting the European Union Committee.

He said there were "growing signs that the UK Government believes that things that are done at the Brussels level will simply fall to the UK level to be done in the future and that it will be for the UK Government to set this new UK-wide set of agreements in relation to agriculture, for example, and that it will be for the devolved administrations to act within them".

Addressing the Exiting the European Union Committee, Mr Drakeford said the prime minister had come "perilously close" to announcing this was her plan at the Scottish Conservative conference on Friday.

In her speech, Theresa May said that as powers returned to the UK through the Brexit process "we must ensure that the right powers sit at the right level to ensure our United Kingdom can operate effectively and in the interests of all of its citizens".

On Tuesday, Mr Drakeford said he had told UK Brexit Secretary David Davis "our belief that this would require legislation at Westminster to roll back devolution in Wales and Scotland".

"Well, this would be toxic in a Welsh context, let alone what it would be like in a Scottish sense, if leaving the European Union were to be played out in that way," Mr Drakeford said.

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