Brexit update
Pwyllgor Materion Allanol a Deddfwriaeth Ycwhanegol | 13 Chwefror 2017
 External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee | 13 February 2017




Research Briefing:

1.       Introduction

This paper provides an update on the most recent developments on Brexit of relevance to Wales. It includes sections on the work in the Assembly and Welsh Government; EU-level; UK-level; and Scotland and Ireland. The period covered is 25 January to 8 February, although reference is made to later events where information is available at time of final drafting.

2.       Developments in Wales

National Assembly for Wales

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

The External Affairs and Additional Legislation (EAAL) Committee is the lead Committee in the Assembly for co-ordinating the Brexit-related activities of Committees. The Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the Potential Implications of Leaving the EU in Wales.

The most recent sessions of the EEAL Committee inquiry were:

§    30 January: Private meeting, including Leaving the European Union: implications for Wales - briefing from the Assembly's Chief Legal Adviser on the implications of the Supreme Court ruling on Article 50. Also the Committee considered its forward work programme and agreed the detailed proposals for an inquiry into regional policy – where next for Wales?

§    6 February: Leaving the European Union: implications for Wales - evidence session with the First Minister. The Committee explored with the First Minister the Welsh Government’s white paper, his response to the UK Government’s white paper; devolved powers and responsibilities post-Brexit, discussions in the Joint Ministerial Committee meeting on 30 January and future trading relationships.

§    The Committee will hear evidence from the Minister for Exiting the EU, David Jones, on 13 February.

Regular updates on the work of the EAAL Committee are posted on the Assembly Blog: https://assemblyblog.wales/tag/european-union/.


The Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee is carrying out an inquiry into Marine Protected Areas in Wales, and an inquiry into the Future of Agricultural and Rural Development Policies in Wales. The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, gave evidence to the Committee on the future of agriculture and rural development on 1 February.

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee has just closed its consultation on What will human rights in Wales look like after Brexit?

Plenary debates

7 February: Debate: "Securing Wales' Future": Transition from the European Union to a new relationship with Europe.

Welsh Government

28 January: £13m EU funding for Institute for Compound Semiconductors.


26 January: Time for industry to show its value during the Government’s Brexit negotiations. (NFU)

31 January: Securing Wales' future - Welsh Government White Paper (NFU Cymru briefing)

1 February: CLA sets out risks to farming of Brexit uncertainty at Lords Inquiry.

1 February: FUW welcomes Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs acknowledgement of New Zealand trade deal threat.

2 February: FUW holds positive talks with Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - agriculture post-Brexit.

2 February: Secretary of State meets NFU Cymru members.

6 February: Post-Brexit farming future explored at FUW Meirionnydd AGM.

3.       EU developments

European Council

3 February: Remarks by President Donald Tusk at the informal summit in Malta.

of 15 December 2016.

European News

Consultation on modernising and simplifying the common agricultural policy (closes 2 May)

4.       UK developments

UK Government

26 January: Prime Minister's speech to the (US) Republican Party conference 2017

27 January: PM press conference with US President Donald Trump.

30 January: PM statement after talks with Enda Kenny.

2 February: A 'new, positive and constructive' partnership with the EU White Paper.

6 February: Greg Hands’ (International Trade Minister) speech to British Chamber of Commerce in Germany.

JMC (Plenary)

30 January: Joint Ministerial Committee communiqué.

PM met ministers from devolved nations at first JMC meeting in Wales.

Written Statement -JMC (P) First Minister Carwyn Jones

Time running out for PM to reach UK-wide agreement before Article 50 is triggered - First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

House of Commons

Westminster Hall debate transcript: 17 January: Leaving the EU: Implication for Wales (Stephen Doughty MP opened the debate, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Guto Bebb MP, replied.

25 January: Welsh questions and Prime Minister’s Questions:

Answering a question about agricultural powers post-Brexit, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Guto Bebb MP) said “there is an ongoing and positive discussion between Westminster and the Welsh Government in relation to where powers will lie”.

The Prime Minister said “no powers that are currently devolved are suddenly ​going to be taken back to the United Kingdom Government. We will be looking at and discussing with the devolved Administrations how we deal with those powers that are currently in Brussels when they come back to the United Kingdom”.

26 January: First reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

26 January: The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union answered questions.

31 January 1 February: Second Reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, reading passed. Minister’s opening statement and closing statement.

2 February: Statement by the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and questions on Exiting the EU: New Partnership.

1 February: Question on Leaving the EU: The UK-Ireland Common Travel Area.

6 February: Statement by the Prime Minister and questions on the Informal European Council in Valletta.

6 February: First day of the Committee stage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.

25 January: The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee begins its inquiry "Leaving the EU: negotiation priorities for energy and climate change policy", with a session focusing on security of trade, energy supply, and particular challenges for Northern Ireland.

25 January: The Home Affairs Committee questions transport and distribution experts on the impact of the UK's departure from the EU customs union.

31 January: The Home Affairs Committee questioned the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, on the implications of the UK's exit from the European Union.

1 February: The International Trade Committee took evidence from Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, on UK-EU trade following Brexit.

1 February: The Justice Committee took evidence on What is the future of the legal sector post-Brexit?

1 February: The European Scrutiny Committee took evidence from Sir Ivan Rogers on EU-UK relations.

30 January: The Welsh Affairs Committee published written evidence from ColegauCymru towards the Implications for Wales of the EU referendum result inquiry.

7 February: Post-Brexit trade with Commonwealth and rest of the world examined by the International Trade Committee. Witnesses included Lord (Digby) Jones of Birmingham and Lord Marland.

7 February: Impact of Brexit on emissions cap and energy standards examined by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

7 February:  The Environmental Audit Committee took evidence on EU Chemicals Regulation.

8 February: The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee took evidence for their inquiry Future of the land border with the Republic of Ireland.

8 & 9 February: The Exiting the European Union Committee took evidence from Scottish (including Michael Russell MSP) and Cornish witnesses for the inquiry UK's negotiating objectives for withdrawal from EU.

House of Lords

The House of Lords European Union Committee and its six Sub-Committees is undertaking a “co-ordinated series of inquiries into the key issues that will arise in the forthcoming negotiations on Brexit”.

26 January: A debate: UK Withdrawal from the EU and Potential Withdrawal from the Single Market. Also a debate: Brexit: UK International Relations.

30 January: A question on Brexit: Creative Industries.

1 February: A question on Brexit: Residence Rights.

2 February: Questions on Brexit: Environmental Standards, Brexit: Article 50, and on Brexit: Trade.

2 February: Debates on Brexit: New Partnership, and on Brexit: Disabled People.

6 February: Questions on Brexit: Customs and Border Staff, Brexit: Aerospace Industry, and Brexit: Transport.

6 February: Statement and questions on the Informal European Council.

9 February: Debate on the EU Financial Affairs Committee’s report on Brexit and financial services.

26 January: The European Union Committee published the Government response to Brexit: parliamentary scrutiny report.

1 February: The European Union Committee took evidence in Edinburgh for its inquiry on the impact of Brexit on the devolution settlement. Witnesses included Michael Russell MSP, Minister for UK negotiations on Scotland's place in Europe, Scottish Government.

7 February: The European Union Committee took evidence in Cardiff. The witnesses included Andrew RT Davies AM, Leanne Wood AM and Neil Hamilton AM. Carwyn Jones AM will give evidence in March.

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee took evidence on the implications of Brexit for UK agriculture. 31 January: farmers and food processing organisations. 1 February: tenant farmers, land owners and organic farming.

2 February:  The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee took evidence as part of its inquiry 'Brexit: future trade in goods between the UK and the EU'.

The European Union Committee took evidence from: 31 January: academics and legal professionals and 2 February: Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Exiting the European Union, as part of its ongoing inquiries on Brexit: Crown Dependencies and Brexit: Gibraltar.

6 February: The Economic Affairs Committee hears evidence from leading economists for its inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the UK labour market.

7 February: The EU  Energy and Environment Sub-Committee took evidence on UK agriculture trade post Brexit.

8 February: Meeting of the Brexit Liaison Group, led by the Liaison Committee.

1 February: The Constitution Committee took evidence from experts on delegated legislation, and on 8 February from the Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, and the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. The Committee examines how Parliament delegates powers to the Government and considers the use of these powers in the context of the Great Repeal Bill.


31 January: ‘Brexit’ brings a risk to human rights protection against toxic pollution – UN expert

3 February: Fresh Brexit legal challenge blocked by high court (Article 127).

5.       Scotland

Scottish Parliament

25 January: A statement and questions on the Supreme Court Judgment (Article 50).

26 January: Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee round table discussion on the European Union Referendum (Implications for Scotland).

2 February: The Committee took evidence, including from Michael Russell MSP (Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe), on the referendum result and the Scottish Government’s paper “Scotland’s Place in Europe”.

6 February: The European Committee has called for the Scottish and UK governments to consider “a bespoke – or differentiated – solution for immigration policy in Scotland” after Brexit.

Scottish Government

25 January: European links under threat - Brexit impedes cultural and tourism opportunities

26 January: Brexit meeting with Secretary of State for Scotland - No offer and no guarantee on repatriated powers.

30 January: Cabinet Secretary asks European Parliament to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard during Article 50 process.

1 February: EU vital to NHS and social care services - Ministers examine impact on workforce and clinical research.

6.       Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Assembly

Elections are set for 2 March.

7.       UK Ireland relations

6 February: Brexit border deal ‘not legally possible’ (Irish Examiner) Says that even with a Free Trade Agreement, import VAT and excise duty will still be collected, and there will be some checking of private and goods vehicles.

25 January: A Seanad question on the possibility of moving the European Medicines Agency from London to Ireland.

8.       Other reports published

§    European attractiveness survey Plan B … for Brexit (Ernst & Young)

§    Local voting figures shed new light on EU referendum (BBC)