News that Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom rejected an invitation to appear before Welsh Assembly Members and that Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) George Eustice MP has cancelled his evidence session with the Welsh Assembly environment committee’s Brexit inquiry at two days’ notice, has been described as disappointing news by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.
FUW Managing Director Alan Davies said: “It is really disappointing news that these vital discussions have, at best, been postponed. We recently had meetings with Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom, Welsh Secretary of State Alun Cairns and Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths to discuss the future of agriculture in a post-Brexit world.
“The meetings, one of which was instigated by the Wales Office, were very positive and Andrea Leadsom told us that devolution would be “utterly respected” and that is essential.
“There are some complex political principles at stake here, which can only be resolved through cooperation and collaboration between all 4 nations of the United Kingdom. And more importantly, until those principles are resolved we cannot be clear as to who will have primacy of decision making in the long term.”
“The Prime Minister has said that there will be no landgrab of powers from devolved nations. That means that the Welsh Government will be responsible for all agriculture policy, a position we welcome. But we also recognise the need to create and work within a UK Framework that enables and constrains the UK administrations in a way that creates a healthy yet stable home market in the UK.
“We very much hope that this is a postponed opportunity, rather than a failure to start discussions.”