You may have seen some news coverage over recent days about Labour MPs voting “against” Government plans to leave the EU. This is not the case. What I have spent many hours and late nights with my Labour colleagues trying to stop is the Tories using Brexit as a reason to grab powers for themselves and dilute democracy.
Since the country voted by a small margin to leave the EU – a result I absolutely respect – Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones and my Shadow Cabinet colleague Keir Starmer have been standing up for the best interests of Wales, determined that Labour would do all it can to protect Welsh interests. In recent months, they have consistently said that Labour would not support the UK Tory Government’s EU (Withdrawal), as it rides rough-shod over devolution, ignores and dismisses current devolved powers and responsibilities, and launches a major power grab to try and centralise decision-making power in Westminster.
As Carwyn has said many times, Devolution in Wales exists as the result of two referendums. Neither I nor my Welsh Labour colleagues will stand by and allow the will of the Welsh people to be ignored or side-lined by the Tories in London. The amendments to the Tory Brexit bill that Labour proposed would have ensured that devolved powers returning from Brussels go directly to Cardiff, respecting the Assembly, Welsh Government and the democratic institutions of Wales.
While the Tories are determined to use Brexit as a means to grab power, Welsh Labour is committed to delivering a Brexit which puts jobs first, retains the benefits of the Single Market and maintains high standards in employment and environmental regulations. In the weeks and months ahead, I will be working flat-out with all Welsh Labour MPs and Shadow Cabinet colleagues in Westminster and Cardiff to improve this Bill and secure the best outcome possible for the people of Neath, and communities across Wales.