Wales politics

Carwyn Jones: PM needs Brexit advice from outside 'bubble'

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Media captionBrexit "carried the seed of division", Carwyn Jones warned

Theresa May needs to listen to voices outside the Westminster "bubble" on Brexit, the first minister has said.

Carwyn Jones told assembly members he welcomed news of her willingness to talk to political opponents.

But he said the prime minister seemed uninterested in views on Brexit from the Welsh and Scottish governments.

The UK government said it was "committed" to working with devolved bodies to deliver a "successful Brexit for the whole of the UK".

Opposition parties have responded with scorn to news that Mrs May wants them to "contribute and not just criticise" after the Conservatives lost their majority in the general election.

Taking questions on Brexit from the assembly's external affairs committee on Monday, Mr Jones said: "The oddity about the announcement today was that it was a discussion only at Westminster inside the bubble."

Referring to the nature of the UK's departure from the EU, he said: "We have put forward proposals from Wales. The Scots will have their own perspective. It seems those views are not as important.

"Brexit carries with it the seed of division within the UK, unless steps are taken to make sure the UK's unity is still robust."

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Image caption Mr Jones said farming in Wales would "fall off the edge of the cliff" without a Brexit deal

Mr Jones claimed that the UK government's position on Brexit was no longer clear, and called for the establishment of a "proper council of ministers" involving the nations to plan the way forward.

He said Mrs May had not replied to a letter he wrote outlining the idea shortly after the election in June.

The first minister said he did not want to leave Europe's customs union and single market, and did not believe a trade deal could be completed by the Brexit deadline of March 2019.

Farming in Wales would "fall off the edge of the cliff", he claimed, if the UK had to rely on World Trade Organisation rules after Brexit, as well as lose EU agriculture subsidies.

Mr Jones warned the UK government not to take for granted that the assembly would consent to the Repeal Bill, due to be published on Thursday, which will mark the first step towards replacing EU law with British legislation.

If the assembly's powers were threatened by the bill, he said the Welsh Government could publish its own Continuity Bill in the autumn.

Mr Jones added that he was meeting the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Thursday, despite the Welsh Government having no formal role in the Brexit talks.

A UK government spokesman said: "We are committed to working with the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales, and with the other devolved administrations and legislatures, as we deliver a successful Brexit for the whole of the UK.

"The level of engagement on this issue has been unprecedented, including meetings with businesses and groups across the nations."

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