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Leaving the EU: No Deal

Volume 664: debated on Wednesday 4 September 2019

7. What recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on planning for the UK leaving the EU without a deal. (912230)

I have regular discussions with Welsh Government Ministers on a range of issues, including preparations for leaving the EU. Within days of the Prime Minister’s appointment at the end of July, the Prime Minister and I met the First Minister in Cardiff. Naturally our departure from the EU was central to these discussions.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. There are some concerns that the devolved Administrations might not be as ready as this Government for a no-deal exit. Can he confirm that this Government are doing all they can to ensure that the entire UK is ready to leave, come what may, on 31 October?

My hon. Friend has hit the nail on the head. The devolved Administrations are invited to the exit planning committees that the UK Government hold. They are fully aware of the proactive, positive steps and measures that we have introduced in preparation for leaving the European Union. I am only disappointed that the same courtesy and invitation have not been extended by the Scottish and Welsh Governments, which would allow and give us the same confidence.

The Secretary of State talked about manufacturing and the economy. The impact of Tata’s announcement on Monday that it will close Cogent’s Orb steelworks will be keenly felt in Newport. It is devastating news for workers and their families. Will he meet me urgently to discuss what the Government will do?

Absolutely. I will meet the hon. Lady and work with her to co-ordinate our response. I recognise the priority she has placed on this operation for some time and she highlighted some of the risks and concerns she had some time ago. Yesterday, I spoke to Roy Rickhuss from Community union. I have, naturally, also spoken to Tata. We are working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in terms of challenging the issues that Tata is raising to seek to bring it to the most competitive position possible.

With reports that the British Government are stockpiling body bags as part of their no-deal Brexit preparations, what assessment has the Secretary of State undertaken of the amount of Welsh people who may die as a result of medical shortages for a no-deal Brexit?

The hon. Gentleman, by supporting the motion last night and the Bill this evening, is simply prolonging the uncertainty. The Welsh people and the British people want certainty about our exit from the European Union. We are determined to leave at the end of October. We would like to leave with a deal—that will give us the smoothest possible exit—but at least we can plan for the opportunities the future brings. [Interruption.]

Order. I appeal to the House to calm down. There are a very large number of noisy private conversations taking place, which, at the very least, is rather discourteous to and disrespectful of the people of Wales.