In a hard hitting article published today on the Gwydir website (https://gwydir.wales/2020/10/02/a-government-that-respects-devolution/), the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, Paul Davies MS, unveils a key principle and commitment that would be enacted by a Welsh Conservative Government.
Directly rebutting the allegations that the Internal Market Bill will end devolution, Paul Davies writes:“Devolution won’t be ending with the Internal Market Bill. And neither will it be ending with the election of a Welsh Conservative Government.
“But it will be changing. There will be clear lines set out over which policy areas government exercises control. Those things that are devolved will be managed by my government, and those things which are not devolved will be managed by Boris’.
“A respect agenda will be reinstated between the two governments and it will be adhered to by both sides. And that, of course, means that my Welsh Government won’t be treading on Westminster’s turf either.
“Within the first year of a Welsh Conservative Government we will conduct a root and branch examination of where Labour has been pretending it has devolved competence when it does not. And we will defund and end the pretence.”
Pointing to specifics within this ‘boundary review’, Paul Davies MS commits to: “Unpicking the whole department of the Minister for International Relations in the Welsh Government. International relations is not devolved, it never has been, and under my watch Welsh ministers will stop pretending they have powers they do not.
“A Welsh Conservative Government will also be binning the bodies created to advise on criminal justice. My Welsh Government will stop its interference in the asylum system because immigration and asylum are completely non devolved. We will stop the pretence that the Welsh Government has a Home Office. It does not.
“A Welsh Conservative Government will focus on respecting devolution, and respecting what is not devolved too.”#
This approach will allow the next Welsh Government to concentrate on the things it has proper legal competence and responsibility for in Wales such as education, health, social services and economic development. As Paul Davies MS argues, this change is part of a wider devolution revolution which will refocus the Welsh Government:
“A devolution revolution that focuses on delivery, delivery, delivery.
“A devolution revolution that will end the complacent Welsh Government culture that produces a billion pounds of waste.
“A devolution revolution that creates an environment for businesses to start up and grow.
“A devolution revolution which increases investment for our Welsh NHS as businesses create more jobs and more revenue.
“A devolution revolution that ends the underfunding of our young people and gives them the tools they need to thrive.
“A devolution revolution which brings jobs, investment and infrastructure to the whole of Wales.”