Wales needs a department led by a Minister solely dedicated to Brexit, the Welsh Conservative leader has said.
Andrew RT Davies argues that “more than 400 days” since Wales voted to leave the EU, Wales is still without a Brexit Ministry, unlike its Scottish and UK counterparts.
A Welsh Brexit Ministry is needed, says Mr Davies, in order to facilitate better working between the devolved and UK Governments throughout the process of the UK’s departure from the EU, and to ensure that Wales’ interests stay “at the centre” of negotiations.
Currently, the First Minister of Wales balances 14 portfolio responsibilities, one of which is constitutional issues - the most important being Brexit.
Mr Davies contends that the responsibilities of running a country and tackling the “biggest constitutional challenge of our time” are too much for one man to manage, and that the Welsh Government should be reconfigured to offer “strong and constructive representation” to the UK Government throughout the process.
A report out last week by the Assembly’s cross-party External Affairs Committee heaped criticism on Welsh Labour Government ministers for failing to meet with Irish counterparts to discuss the effect of Brexit on Welsh ports.
This drew criticism from Mr Davies, who said the report was more evidence that the Labour Government was happy to sit on the side-lines complaining rather than taking a proactive and positive approach to making Brexit work for everyone.
Andrew RT Davies said:
“More than 400 days after Wales voted to leave the EU, Wales remains without a Brexit ministry unlike its counterparts in Scotland and Westminster.
“In order to ensure that Wales’ national interests stay at the centre of Brexit negotiations, we need a department led by an experienced minister solely dedicated to this process.
“It’s a job too big for one man alone, and there’s a real danger that in trying to juggle domestic issues with the biggest constitutional challenge of our time, the First Minister will allow one or both of these responsibilities to flounder.
“A Welsh Minister for Brexit could deliver strong and constructive representation to the UK Government, and facilitate better working with the devolved nations – not barrack idly from the side-lines as the First Minister has so far contented himself to do.”