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UK unity threatened by No Deal - warning from Welsh Brexit Minister

Swansea Council Leader also raises serious concerns on back of comments by Jeremy Miles

"A hugely, hugely difficult and challenging scenario that should be avoided at all costs."

That's the stark warning from Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart about the prospect of a No Deal Brexit.

Councillor Stewart spoke to our Reporter Claire Pearson about the possibility of No Deal and equated its impact as that of being on a war footing:

"For those who don't believe a No Deal Brexit would be damaging and difficult, it will be.

"Everything that I have seen, and I sit on the Welsh Government Committee looking at Brexit, is that it is a hugely, hugely difficult and challenging scenario and it should be avoided at all costs."

The City Council Leader's comments come as the Welsh Government Minister Jeremy Miles tells the National Eisteddfod in Conwy that Brexit could threaten the unity of the United Kingdom.

He wants the UK Government to recognise the need for radical change in the UK’s constitutional arrangements to make it fit for the 21st century whether we leave the EU or not, whilst saying that Wales is best placed as part of a reformed Union.

Jeremy Miles told the Eisteddfod:

“It would seem to me that no deal preparation is our new Prime Minister’s top priority. But he seems oblivious to the fact that no level of preparation can properly mitigate the effects of a catastrophic no deal exit.

“His grand tour of the devolved nations, and the markedly public focus and pace he has brought on preparing the UK to leave, has brought centre stage not only the hard or no deal Brexit he espouses but also the question of the future of the union.

“Increasingly – certainly here in Wales, and now to some extent more broadly – there has been a renewed interest in what Wales would do if a hard Brexit brought about the departure from the Union of other nations, and indeed in any post-Brexit scenario – if the consequences for us of a no deal Brexit are as catastrophic as we believe they would be.

“We believe that the UK is a voluntary association of nations, so it follows that we also recognise that some component parts of the United Kingdom may no longer choose to be part of it. And if that were to happen, any sensible government would have to reassess Wales's place in a changed UK. 

”So let me be clear about the Welsh Government’s position. We continue to believe in the Union.

“In an increasing globalised world, we do not think it makes sense to give up on making the relationship we have inherited with our closest neighbours work to our mutual advantage – we believe that the sharing of risk and reward across the four nations is to the benefit of all our citizens. We want the Union to work, and to work better.

“Our priority is to remain and reform - within the union of the United Kingdom as with the European Union - make the best use of the devolved powers we have, press the case for new ones, but all within a United Kingdom that continues to offer Wales the advantages we currently enjoy through its membership.

“This involves a major programme of change.”

 

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