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Wednesday, March 29

Article 50: PM says 'significant' increase to powers expected

Wales can expect a "significant increase" in devolved powers following Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

The UK government has officially started the process of leaving the European Union.

In the letter to trigger Article 50 Mrs May said her government would consult on which powers should be devolved.

Brexit negotiations will take "due account of the specific interests of every nation", she added.

In the letter delivered to European Council president Donald Tusk, Mrs May said: "From the start and throughout the discussions, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, taking due account of the specific interests of every nation and region of the UK as we do so.

"When it comes to the return of powers back to the United Kingdom, we will consult fully on which powers should reside in Westminster and which should be devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"But it is the expectation of the Government that the outcome of this process will be a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration."

Earlier on Wednesday Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said First Minister Carwyn Jones had no evidence to support his claim that farming subsidies could disappear after the UK leaves the European Union.

Mr Jones told the Senedd on Tuesday he was "not optimistic" the UK government would replace funding lost after Brexit.

But Mr Davies, who backed the campaign to leave the EU, told BBC Radio Wales on Wednesday he was "very confident" the UK government would support the interests of Welsh farmers.

He accused the first minister of "scaremongering", adding: "He's fast turning into the angry man in the grandstand shouting at the team on the field playing the game."

Mr Davies said governments in the UK would have the ability to draw up their own plans to support their poorer regions and food production.

"That's what people will vote on at elections times," he said.

"They will look at manifestos and they will vote on the government they think will look after their interests, unlike what we have at the moment which is unelected bureaucrats putting in place measures that frankly just have not worked."

Mr Jones, who wanted the UK to remain in the EU, said he stood "ready to work constructively with the UK government to secure a deal which protects Welsh businesses, our economy and the future prosperity of Wales".

"If, as negotiations progress, we believe our priorities are not being championed or our representation falls below a level we find acceptable, we will not remain silent," he said.

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