Welsh Government criticised on response to Brexit deal

By James Williams
BBC Wales Brexit correspondent

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The Welsh Government has said it does not support "the deal which is on the table"

The Welsh Government is being criticised for failing to show leadership in its response to Theresa May's Brexit deal.

On Tuesday, the Assembly will hold a non-binding vote on the deal reached between the UK Government and the EU.

Plaid Cymru described the Welsh Government's position for the vote as a "whitewash".

The Wales for Europe group said it "does not provide the kind of strong lead on this issue that Wales needs".

A Welsh Government spokesperson said it does not "support the deal which is on the table."

The motion tabled by Welsh ministers for the Assembly debate is not explicit in its rejection of the prime minister's Brexit deal.

Part of the government motion states that the Welsh Government believes that the UK-EU's so-called 'political declaration' - the non-legally binding part of the prime minister's agreement with EU negotiators that outlines both sides' ambitions for the new future relationship - "falls short" of its own demands.

Plaid Cymru's Brexit spokesperson in the Assembly, Steffan Lewis AM said: "The motion put forward by the Welsh Government is a whitewash that represents a complete failure to offer leadership at the most momentous period in the history of devolution.

"It is not acceptable for Labour to duck and weave their way through the biggest issues of our time by prioritising papering over the cracks in their own party rather than acting in Wales' interest."

Geraint Talfan Davies, Chair of Wales For Europe, a pro-EU campaign group pushing for a referendum on the Brexit deal, said: "The original Welsh Government motion does not provide the kind of strong lead on this issue that Wales needs at this unprecedented moment in our history.

"We need our National Assembly to pass a robust motion that makes it clear to the Welsh public that it will not back either the agreement that is on the table, or the catastrophic notion of a 'no-deal' scenario."

MPs will vote on the Brexit agreement on 11 December.

The UKIP group in the Assembly has tabled a motion for the debate which said "both the UK and Welsh governments have frustrated the wishes of the 17.4 million people who voted leave" in the referendum.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We have clearly set-out our vision for the future relationship with the EU in our document Securing Wales' Future.

"We have also been absolutely clear that the UK government's proposed withdrawal agreement falls far short of providing the stability and certainty needed for the long term.

"So, as a package we cannot support the deal which is on the table."

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