(Title Image: The Telegraph)
Following yesterday’s rejection of the Brexit deal by the UK Parliament, Mick Antoniw AM (Lab, Pontypridd) asked a topical question on the impact the vote would have on Wales though, with a looming no-confidence vote in Westminster, it turned into a broader discussion on how Brexit was being mismanaged.
He accused the Prime Minister of putting the Conservatives first and treating the Senedd and people of Wales with contempt. Government at UK level was now paralysed and the UK was a global laughing stock.
“Following last night’s catastrophic and historic defeat, (Theresa May) says the UK Government will listen and reach out across the Commons, but at the same time, she says her red lines stay in place. So, no discussion on a customs union, no discussion on a single market, no discussions on free movement or the European Court of Justice, no discussions with the opposition. So, having excluded everyone….who on earth is she reaching out to?”
– Mick Antoniw AM
The First Minister said there was only one constitutionally appropriate way out:
“….any Prime Minister who finds herself defeated in the way that this Prime Minister has been when attempting to discharge the single most important responsibility that will ever fall to her should resign. I think that is the constitutionally proper course of action and she should face up to that and she should take it.”
– First Minister, Mark Drakeford (Lab, Cardiff West)
Darren Millar AM (Con, Clwyd West) said everyone should respect the 2016 referendum and the biggest threat to the UK was a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.
The First Minister told Darren that if he was so sure of his views on a Corbyn government, why is he so reluctant to ask the people in a new UK general election?
Dai Lloyd AM (Plaid, South Wales West) asked what happens next? He added that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t offer a clear vision on Europe either, to which the First Minister replied:
“I certainly haven’t given up on the prospect that the House of Commons will reject this Government. His party will vote tonight in favour of a motion of no confidence. I wish he had the confidence in the no-confidence motion that his party will support. That’s what I want to see happen; I want to see this Government defeated and a general election.”
– First Minister, Mark Drakeford
UKIP’s Gareth Bennett moaned his party wasn’t invited to cross-party talks earlier today. The First Minister said there was little point inviting UKIP to talks on how to prepare for Brexit, or Brexit deals, when the party doesn’t believe there’s any reason to prepare in the first place.
“Is it the reality, First Minister, that whatever happens in the House of Commons tonight and whatever happens in the House of Commons next Monday, we are running out of time to reach a conclusion to these conversations? We are running out of time to find a solution. The extent and the size of the defeat of the UK Government’s policy last night means that they can’t simply return with a tweaked deal and hope that that will be passed.”
– Alun Davies AM (Lab, Blaenau Gwent)
The First Minister had warned that time was running out time and time again and he has called for Article 50 to be suspended/extended – which he believed the EU would agree to.
Lynne Neagle AM (Lab, Torfaen) said the only options left on the table were a “No Deal” or a second referendum.
The First Minister disagreed. If the Prime Minister comes through tonight’s vote unscathed, and sticks to her promise to involve senior parliamentarians and the devolved administrations in discussions on a way forward, then a Brexit deal could yet be done. If that doesn’t happen, then the First Minister accepts needing to “go back to the people” (though I wouldn’t interpret that as support for a “People’s Vote”).