Leanne Wood backs SNP position on Brexit “power grab”

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The leader of Plaid Cymru has backed the Scottish Government’s decision to reject UK ministers’ proposals to amend the European Union Withdrawal Bill in a continuing row over devolution.

Leanne Wood criticised Welsh Labour’s decision to agree a deal with Westminster on the issue of powers returning to Cardiff and Edinburgh once Brexit takes place, describing the move as a “tragedy”.

Pic Greg Macvean - 15/11/2014 - SNP Annual National Conference Perth Concert Hall - Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru

Pic Greg Macvean - 15/11/2014 - SNP Annual National Conference Perth Concert Hall - Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru

Ms Wood, a member of the Welsh Assembly, said the list of 26 policy areas which would be transferred from Cardiff to London on a temporary basis was “astounding”.

Theresa May’s cabinet has argued control over sectors such as agriculture and fisheries, previously agreed at a EU-wide level, must pass to the centre before they can in turn be devolved in order to protect the UK’s “common market”.

New amendments from the UK government to introduce a “sunset clause” so that devolved powers returned to Westminster did not stay there indefinitely have been rejected by Mike Russell, the Scottish Government’s Brexit spokesman.

Opposition parties at Holyrood have accused the SNP of using the issue to raise support for Scottish independence, but the Nationalists’ stance was endorsed by the Plaid Cymru leader.

“So drastic is Labour’s transformation in Wales they have gone from working with Plaid Cymru and the SNP, to calling us “flag-waving nationalists”. At least ours is not the white flag of surrender,” she wrote in a column for The National.

READ MORE: SNP warns time running out on Brexit stalemate

“At the National Assembly for Wales this week I have been witness to an almost vomit-inducing Labour-Tory-Ukip love-in. Brexit believers created a chorus of congratulation for Labour. But, the question which struck me most was not why did Labour do this. We know a centralising British tendency is at their core. No, the question was, how did we get here? From a position of such strength, where Wales and Scotland had the leverage against Westminster; to the pantomime villain that is Neil Hamilton congratulating the Welsh Labour Government on its capitulation.”

Ms Wood, who was once described as the most left-wing leader of a mainstream political party in the UK, has previously spoken of attempting to emulate the SNP’s electoral success in Scotland.

She added: “In Scotland, the fight goes on and resist Westminster’s grasp you must. Even if the Welsh Government doesn’t, Wales and Plaid Cymru stands with you.”

Meanwhile, the impasse over devolved powers continues. Last night it was revealed there are no meetings are planned between ministers in Edinburgh and Whitehall to resolve the impasse over powers returning from the EU after Brexit.

MSPs at Holyrood are expected to withhold consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill when they vote on the issue at Holyrood next week. The Scottish Government’s alternative Brexit legislation - the EU Continuity Bill - has been referred to the UK Supreme Court amid claims it is outwith the competence of the Scottish Parliament.