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The House of Commons has an opportunity to seize control of the Brexit agenda - and it should not stop at preventing a no deal but take steps to force the Government to bring forward a referendum bill by the end of July, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has said.

First published:
12 June 2019
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The First Minister said:

“I’m suggesting to colleagues in Westminster a practical way forward. It’s time for Parliament not just to say what it does not want, but to set a positive plan to end the Brexit uncertainty.

“If Parliament succeeds in taking control of the agenda on 25th June, it should legislate not just to prevent no deal, but also to force the Government to bring forward a referendum bill by the 31st July. This must be done quickly – we cannot afford the economic damage being done every single day as a result of Brexit uncertainty and the Civil Service could be getting on with preparing the legislation while time is being frittered away on a Tory leadership election.

“Of course, if an incoming Prime Minister is not prepared to accept this, they have an alternative – they can call a general election.”

The First Minister is in Brussels today for meeting with political leaders, including Michel Barnier, to discuss the Welsh Government’s position on Brexit and to hear the views of the EU on the continued impasse in Parliament and potential ways forward.

The First Minister added:

“During my meeting with Michel Barnier I called on him to ensure the European Council gives us sufficient time to hold a referendum, in which the Welsh Government would do all we can to make sure the UK votes to remain within the EU.”

The First Minister also used his meetings in Brussels to explain why the Welsh Government believes that as the UK remains as divided as ever, and as there is no movement in Parliament on the compromise of a softer form of Brexit to protect the economy and jobs, the decision should go back to the people. The Welsh Government continues to believe that the best option for the people of Wales is for the UK to remain within the EU.