Complex and difficult negotiations to come

Prime Minister Theresa May Image copyright Getty Images

One of the questions about Brexit (and I know there are thousands of them) is how is Wales going to have an influence on the decisions over the next two years?

The answer depends to a large extent on who you speak to.

Many Brexit supporting Conservatives I have been speaking to at their conference in Birmingham over the past few days would say this is not a problem because Theresa May is giving 52% of voters in Wales exactly what they want.

Plaid Cymru are leading the counter view.

So what about the first minister? Until this point, his stance has been to call for a seat at the negotiating table. However unrealistic that may have seemed in practice for some, I think we all took it to be a key demand.

Now there has been a rowing back. We are told that a "seat at the negotiating table" was a turn of phrase and that no-one expected the first minister to be sitting opposite Angela Merkel.

The expectation from the Welsh Government will now be consultation from the negotiating team ahead of talks to agree a position.

Officials could do worse than pick up the phone to the former assembly member and Clwyd West MP David Jones, who has been thrust from the backbenches into the centre of the hard talking as a Brexit minister.

As he told me on BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales: "You should never write anyone off but if I could have written my own job description, this is the job I would have applied for."

But back to the Welsh Government's potential role in the talks, the truth is that behind the scenes officials in Cardiff are reasonably happy with the level of engagement they have been getting with the new administration at Westminster.

I am told they were informed in advance about Theresa May's announcements on the timing of Brexit and the Great Repeal Bill.

The truth is also that the level of true engagement has not been tested yet, but I think it is fair to assume that it will be tested to the full in what is likely to be more than two years of complex and difficult negotiations.

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