Wales politics

Brexit: Theresa May 'will listen' to Welsh Government

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Media captionTheresa May says Wales will be "fully engaged" in Brexit planning

The prime minister has said she wants to listen to the Welsh Government's views on Brexit to ensure it is "fully engaged" as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

Theresa May told BBC Wales she wanted to hear "the particular issues" in different parts of the UK via talks with devolved administrations.

But she stressed the UK would do the negotiating.

The Welsh Government said it must "have a place" at the negotiation table.

Mrs May said on Sunday that Britain will begin the formal process of leaving the EU by the end of March.

She told the Conservative conference there would be no opt-out from Brexit - and she would never allow "divisive nationalists to undermine the precious union between the four nations of our United Kingdom".

Mrs May told BBC Wales the Welsh Government would be involved in discussions.

She said she was "very pleased" that during a visit to Cardiff in July she spoke with First Minister Carwyn Jones and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns about how the Welsh Government would be involved in Brexit talks.

"Of course, it will be the UK that is negotiating with the European Union in terms of the terms for Brexit," she said.

"I want to make a real success of it but, in doing our preparations, I want to listen to the devolved administrations, to hear the particular issues in different parts of the United Kingdom so they are fully engaged and will continue to be fully engaged."

When challenged over the future of EU-funded projects in Wales, she said the UK government would protect money from Brussels earmarked for farmers until 2020.

She said, however, her government needed to discuss what would happen thereafter.

She said the changes gave Britain an "opportunity".

"It gives us the control. That's one of the key issues," she said.

"I think a lot of people, when they voted to leave the European Union, it was about not having control over their lives and, as a British government, we will be the ones who will be able to make decisions about how we ensure that the economy is working for everyone across the country and society is working for everyone across the country."

With the Conservative conference under way in Birmingham, Mrs May signalled that one of the party's "key messages" would be to highlight the Labour-run Welsh Government's record on the NHS and education.

'Crystal clear'

She said: "I'm pleased that, when I visited Cardiff shortly after I became prime minister, I was also able to talk to Andrew RT Davies and I'll be talking to him about how we can take this message across Wales as Welsh Conservatives, that we're going to be a government that works for everyone," she added.

A Welsh Government spokesman said the first minister had been "crystal clear" about free access to the European single market being "a must for Wales' economic future".

"We must also have a place at the negotiating table, so that we can secure the very best outcome for Wales," he added.

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