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Welsh Assembly

Volume 650: debated on Thursday 6 December 2018

4. What recent discussions he has had with representatives of the National Assembly for Wales on the proposed withdrawal agreement and political declaration. (908039)

No unexpected question pairings this time, Mr Speaker.

I have appeared twice in front of the Assembly’s External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee this year, most recently on 11 October, to provide evidence on the UK’s exit from the European Union. I also regularly engage with the Welsh Government, with whom I had a call this morning. Earlier this week, I co-chaired the sixth meeting of the ministerial forum for EU negotiations, which three Welsh Ministers attended. We remain committed to engaging fully with the devolved Administrations and legislatures.

I thank the Minister for that answer. In the Exiting the European Union Committee on Monday, the Government’s chief Brexit adviser told me that Welsh representatives will not sit on the new joint committee of five. He said that the Joint Ministerial Committee might be used, or

“other structures that may be invented in due course.”

The JMC is widely seen as not being fit for purpose—for example, by the recent inter-parliamentary forum on Brexit, which I attended. What are those proposed invented structures, and when and how will they be activated?

This is an issue that we take very seriously. The ministerial forum, which I co-chair with the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich North (Chloe Smith), who is the Minister for the constitution, has had some very useful engagement, in addition to the JMC structure. My new Secretary of State has already attended his first meeting of the JMC. We intend to keep moving forward and talking to and including the devolved Administrations in our approach.

Under the Government’s post-Brexit UK prosperity fund, will funds be allocated on the same basis and to the same areas as under the current European structural funds?

The hon. Gentleman asks an interesting question. Clearly, work is still ongoing on the UK shared prosperity fund. There is a huge opportunity to do better than the European structural funds. Our country sends millions of pounds into the European structural fund system, and they never return to our country. In the future, the UK shared prosperity fund can deliver more effectively for every part of the United Kingdom.