Wales politics

RT Davies: 'Reality' call for Welsh Government Brexit role

Andrew RT Davies

The Welsh Government should not be part of Brexit negotiations on devolved areas, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives has said.

Andrew RT Davies said there had been plenty of opportunities for the Welsh Government to make its position known.

But on Friday, Finance Minster Mark Drakeford argued Wales should be "in the room" during negotiations.

Last month Theresa May offered the Welsh Government a formal seat in talks to shape the UK's EU exit strategy.

The prime minister has said the formal Brexit negotiation process will begin by the end of March, with the UK set to leave the EU by summer 2019.

Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales programme, Mr Davies said Mrs May was working with the devolved administrations to "make sure they are having their input into the UK position".

Responding to Mr Drakeford's comment, he added that people should deal with the "reality" of the situation.

He said: "Use the opportunities to shape policies that are available to you.

"Those opportunities are many because the prime minister has set up the structures for Mark Drakeford and Carwyn Jones to go and negotiate on behalf of Wales, but the UK government is on point."

Image caption Theresa May has said she wants the Welsh Government to be "involved" in Brexit negotiations

Mr Davies also called for politicians to "look beyond" article 50 negotiations at "what we want in Wales after we come out of the EU".

He said the funding of post-EU schemes should be fairer, adding there should not be "narrow geographical limitations" on the way money is spent.

It comes as First Minister Carwyn Jones called on the UK government to stop repeating "Brexit means Brexit" and rebuild hope.

Writing for the Sunday Times, he warned of an "up swell" of anger if a hard exit from the European Union was pursued and backed calls for a reform of the UK to stop inequalities between nations deepening after Britain leaves the EU.

He supported calls made by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a "people's constitutional convention" - moving towards a more federalised system.

This would look at devolving powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and English regions in areas such as agriculture and fisheries, which will be taken back when Britain leaves the EU, to stop them being centralised in London.

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On Wednesday, Chancellor Phillip Hammond told MPs the UK's deficit would no longer be cleared by 2020.

He also announced that the Welsh Government would get £400m to spend on infrastructure.

Mr Jones criticised the lack of mentions for projects in Wales which could stimulate growth, including the Swansea tidal lagoon, and no mention of a comprehensive plan to support the Welsh steel industry.

A UK government spokeswoman said: "As we build a national consensus we will listen to businesses, politicians and the general public in all parts of the UK.

"The secretary of state has already travelled to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as having chaired the first of many Joint Ministerial Councils.

"The UK has chosen to leave the EU and we are determined to work closely with the governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in making a success of it."

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