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Discussions with the Welsh Government since 2021 Senedd Election

Volume 695: debated on Wednesday 19 May 2021

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke with the First Minister shortly after the election result. I have extended an invitation to meet the new Minister for the Economy. We have had calls with the First Minister and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster last week, and another one is due this evening.

The recent elections demonstrated that the vast majority of voters in Wales have no time for independence. They have little time for ripping up the devolution settlement either. What the elections showed is that they want their politicians and Ministers at either end of the M4 to work together to make good things happen for Wales, and to make Wales a stronger and more prosperous part of the UK. Given that the success of the vaccination programme shows that this can be done, what needs to happen now to unblock other important policies such as freeports, which are stuck between the UK and Welsh Governments?

My right hon. Friend is spot on; we have had considerable, really enthusiastic interest in the freeport programme from across the whole of Wales—it will bring 15,000 jobs and it is a manifesto commitment—and the only obstacle standing between us and delivering it is currently the Welsh Government. I am determined to work collaboratively, as we have said before, to get this over the line, and any pressure that anybody in this House can bring to bear to help us achieve that will be very welcome.