Wales For Europe and pro-EU groups across Wales are demanding a much tougher response from the National Assembly for Wales when it debates the UK-EU agreement next week.
The campaign group has circulated an alternative motion to all Assembly Members and to the Welsh Government. This calls on the Assembly
- to reject Theresa May’s deal and not to consent to a Withdrawal Bill
- to reject any plan for a ‘no deal’ withdrawal from the EU
- to seek an immediate extension of the Article 50 period beyond the end of March next year and
- to demand a new referendum, whether or not the present crisis triggers a General Election.
The motion has the support of the pro-EU network of 16 groups that now covers the whole of Wales.
Geraint Talfan Davies, Chair of Wales For Europe said: “The original Welsh Government motion does not provide the kind of strong lead on this issue that Wales needs at this unprecedented moment in our history.
“We need our National Assembly to pass a robust motion that makes it clear to the Welsh public that it will not back either the agreement that is on the table, or the catastrophic notion of a ‘no-deal’ scenario where we just crash out of the EU.
“No-one would buy anything on the basis of a mere sketch of the future set out in the Political Declaration. We need a proper base of knowledge before we decide whether to change the course of this country for decades to come.
“We must also not fall for the false choice between a General Election and a new referendum. A new People’s Vote is needed, whether or not a General Election is triggered, so that people can make an informed choice between any agreement that is reached and the option to remain a full member of the EU,” he added.
The Wales For Europe alternative motion
The National Assembly for Wales
- takes note of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
- notes the lack of any evidence that the interests of Wales have been fully considered in reaching this agreement, and regrets that the key interests of Wales and the UK have not been secured by these proposals.
- believes that the future relationship envisaged by the Political Declaration
falls short of the model set out in Securing Wales’s Future which has been consistently supported by the National Assembly
fails to provide for participation in the single market and a customs union, thus failing to secure the economic interests of Wales
fails to provide robust guarantees in respect of future workers’ rights, human rights and equalities legislation.
- expresses its deep concern that the extent of the matters listed for further negotiation in the Political Declaration means the necessary base of knowledge for a decision with such far-reaching consequences for the nation simply does not exist.
- expresses its firm rejection of any plan to withdraw from the European Union without any deal and to rely on World Trade Organisation arrangements.
- believes that, taking into account all the above factors, the National Assembly for Wales is not currently in a position where it could justify giving legislative consent to a Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
- believes that a satisfactory outcome cannot now be achieved by the artificial deadline of 29 March 2019, and that, therefore, the UK Government should seek an immediate extension to the Article 50 period.
- believes that whether or not a general election is called, a public vote should be held to decide between ratification of any amended agreement or the option to remain a full member of the EU.
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- The text of the original Welsh Government motion tabled for debate next Tuesday, 4th December is as follows:
- Takes note of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration on the future relationship between the UK and the EU agreed by the European Council and the UK Government, but regrets that neither Wales nor Scotland are mentioned in either document.
- Notes in particular the arrangements for the protection of citizens’ rights and for a transition period for which the Welsh Government has consistently argued and which would avoid the catastrophic outcome of ‘no deal’ in March 2019.
- Notes that the Assembly will have a further opportunity to debate the Withdrawal Agreement as it considers whether or not to give its legislative consent to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which the UK Government intends to bring forward.
- Believes that the future relationship as envisaged by the Political Declaration falls short of the model for the UK / EU future relationship set out in Securing Wales’ Future, which has been consistently supported by the Assembly and fails to provide robust guarantees in respect of future workers’ rights, human rights and equalities legislation.
- Notes that the UK Government’s red lines have constrained the scope of the provisional deal reached with the EU and believes that the UK Government should instead be focused on securing a long-term relationship which provides for participation in the single market and a customs union, seeking to extend the Article 50 period if needs be.
- Believes that the UK Government should declare now its intention to negotiate on that basis and that if it fails to do so, there should be either a general election or a public vote to decide the terms on which the UK leaves, or whether it wishes to remain.