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Welsh Tory leader pressures Theresa May to guarantee post-Brexit funding

Welsh Tory leader pressures Theresa May to guarantee post-Brexit funding

John Ashmore

3 min read

The Welsh Conservative leader has upped the pressure on Theresa May over Brexit, calling for a guarantee Wales will not lose “a single pound” as a result of leaving the EU.

Andrew RT Davies also called for a “better voice” for the devolved governments in the upcoming negotiations, including a review of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC).

The Prime Minister will travel to Brussels today to outline the Government's position on Brexit, with the status of EU nationals top of the agenda in the first round of talks.

Mr Davies, who campaigned vigorously for a Leave vote in last year’s referendum, said the result of the general election meant the Prime Minister had to change her approach to Brexit, including working with other parties.

"We cannot pretend that the election result hasn’t changed the way in which the Government needs to work – particularly with other parties – if we are going to be able to pass the legislation necessary to make a success of Brexit. There is a need to establish a consensus, where it can be achieved, in the interest of the country.

"Not only will that enable us to portray a united front in these complex and competitive negotiations with the EU, but it will provide the markets with confidence in these turbulent times.

But it was his call for firm commitments on money for Wales which could cause headaches for Mrs May and Chancellor Philip Hammond, who are already facing pressure from the DUP for extra cash for Northern Ireland.

Wales is currently a net beneficiary of EU funding, with a recent study suggesting the principality received £245m from Brussels, with much of the cash going on farming subsidies and development grants for poor areas.

“The Chancellor has already guaranteed EU funding until 2021. I want to hear firm guarantees that Wales will not lose a single pound as a result of Brexit,” Mr Davies wrote in a piece for BrexitCentral.

And he called for a rethink of the JMC, which been criticised as little more than a talking shop by representatives of the devolved governments.

“I am also calling on the UK Government to announce an urgent review of the Joint Ministerial Council,” Mr Davies argued.

“This is not the 1950s: we need to establish better ways to engage as a United Kingdom, the need for which will soon become clear once additional powers are returned to the UK from Brussels.

“Lest we forget, at the heart of the Vote Leave campaign was a sense that we were speaking for the millions of people in this country who felt ignored by a distant and unelected elite.

“With the very real prospect of new UK-wide frameworks for farming, regeneration and research, it is vital that we have the structures in place to ensure that people in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have a bigger stake in the process. That means a better voice for the devolved nations.”

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