Jeremy Miles AM, Counsel General
On Wednesday an Order in Council was made, on the advice of the UK government, proroguing Parliament from the second sitting week in September until 14 October.
Whatever the government’s stated reasons for it, the effect of such an unusually lengthy prorogation is to curtail Parliament’s ability to properly debate and scrutinise the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union; and to deprive Parliament of the opportunity to exercise its will, should it wish to do so, through legislation.
The wider ramifications of shutting down Parliament to force through a no deal Brexit are grave. The issues raised have significant implications for the protection of the rule of law and the fundamental constitutional principles of the UK.
It is important that the interests of the National Assembly for Wales are represented in ensuring a functioning constitution. The dialogue between the National Assembly and the Westminster Parliament and how Parliament takes into account representations of the Assembly is a key part of the constitution and must be protected.
The Assembly has given its consent to Parliament to legislate in devolved areas, trusting that Parliament would have the opportunity to pass that legislation. By closing down Parliament, the Prime Minister has frustrated this process and has prevented Parliament from legislating for the terms of exit. This may result in the Assembly having to bring forward new legislation in very limited time in these crucial areas.
Therefore, in accordance with my power under section 67 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, on Friday I made an urgent application to be granted permission to intervene in the legal action launched by Gina Miller. My application was granted by the High Court and I have filed written representations in support of Miller’s case which highlight the implications of the government’s decision for Wales.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so