The Welsh Affairs Committee can be an engine of practical ideas for Wales
I want the Welsh Affairs Committee to be a visible voice for Wales, writes Stephen Crabb MP
Wales remains one of the least understood parts of the United Kingdom family and receives less national focus than any of the other Celtic home nations.
In terms of economic performance, Wales remains at the bottom of the league table of UK nations and regions. Despite remarkable falls in unemployment, Wales still suffers from poor infrastructure, low wages and the legacy of industrial decline. It is a part of the United Kingdom that should be at the front of the queue when it comes to the ‘levelling up’ of all parts of the country, to use the prime minister’s phrase.
I believe the Welsh Affairs Committee (WAC) is well placed, not just to provide commentary on the actions of UK Government on behalf of Wales, but to be an engine of practical ideas and recommendations for making Wales a stronger and more successful part of the UK.
By drawing on the knowledge and passion of MPs from all parties, the WAC can help to shape a positive and optimistic agenda for Wales at a time of enormous change.
“The WAC can be an engine of practical ideas and recommendations for making Wales a stronger and more successful part of the UK”
Government action on post-Brexit trade deals, the Shared Prosperity Fund, infrastructure investment and the climate challenge will all have an impact on Wales in the years ahead. The WAC will provide an essential forum for examining these actions and ensuring that the unique circumstances of Wales are understood by ministers and officials who lead on these.
Having served in the Wales Office, both as a junior minister and as Welsh secretary, I have an in-depth knowledge of the Department, its role and status within Whitehall, and of the interface between UK and Welsh Governments.
In recent years I have spoken extensively at the Institute for Government, Institute of Welsh Affairs, and other bodies about devolution and the future of the Union, especially in light of Brexit.
I want to put this knowledge to good use in helping the WAC to play a strong and effective role within the House of Commons. I intend to build on the excellent work of the previous Chair, David TC Davies, in making the WAC more visible within Wales and in building constructive relationships with committees in the National Assembly of Wales and with Welsh civil society.
In my first Parliament I sat on the Welsh Affairs, International Development and Treasury select committees, playing a full role in inquiries and always with one of the best attendance rates. In the last Parliament I was a member of the Exiting the EU Committee. I have always valued relationships with colleagues from across the House and I enjoy working across party divisions. As chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee, I would do my best to foster a true Team Wales approach.
Stephen Crabb is Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire
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