Skip to main content

“Securing Wales’ Future”

Volume 622: debated on Wednesday 8 March 2017

7. Whether he is taking steps to implement the Plaid Cymru-Welsh Government’s White Paper entitled “Securing Wales’ Future”, published in January 2017. (909077)

The White Paper, “Securing Wales’ Future”, was presented to the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU negotiations in late February, and we are discussing the detailed proposals with the Welsh Government.

Does the Minister realise that there is a difference between discussing a paper and taking action on it? When are the devolved Governments going to have any tangible action taken on their Brexit strategies; or are the devolved Assemblies not going to be part of empire 2.0 and instead be left with the scraps from the table?

I hope the hon. Gentleman will recognise that there is a significant amount of common ground between the Welsh Government’s paper and the 12 principles that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has outlined. This Government are determined to deliver a deal that works for every part of the United Kingdom. We have already said that no decisions currently taken by the devolved Administrations will be removed from them and that we will use the return of powers from Europe to the United Kingdom to strengthen devolution and the Union of the United Kingdom.

Over 5,000 EU students study in Wales and over 1,300 EU academics teach and do research, greatly adding to our national wellbeing. The Welsh Government’s EU White Paper makes it clear that their position must be secured. Why will the Secretary of State’s Government not adopt that elementary piece of economic good sense?

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and others have said that we want to seek the earliest agreement to secure the status of EU nationals living in the UK and of UK nationals living in the EU. It is not in our interests to undermine any one sector. We would like to press for an early agreement, but it takes two people to come to an agreement.

Today, on International Women’s Day, my constituent Shiromini Satkunarajah will be studying for her final exams in electrical engineering. She is likely to get a first in her field, in which there is a world shortage of qualified people, women in particular. Had this Government had their way, she would have been deported last week. How would her deportation have steadied the Chancellor’s dodgy post-Brexit spreadsheet?

The hon. Gentleman will know that we do not comment on individual cases, but he will know the detail and the latest situation. I hope that he will recognise, on International Women’s Day, that no other nation across the European Union has lower unemployment among women than Wales.