The General Election was called by Teresa May to give her a complete mandate for taking through her policies and negotiating Brexit, providing the certainty required for Britain going forward.
As we all know the outcome wasn’t quite as she foresaw and, at the time of writing this some 3 days post-election, we now have little certainty about anything. Although at least we will not have a new Secretary of State to bed in with the reappointment of Alun Cairns.
From a Welsh perspective, however, there may be a silver lining to the dark cloud looming over the UK presently.
The need for Mrs May to strike an agreement/alliance with the DUP in Northern Ireland will mean that greater consideration is likely to have to be given to devolved issues, albeit with an Irish flavour. The Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC), formed by the UK government to consult with the devolved ministers over Brexit, should now take on greater importance for the Government and it will be difficult for them to accede to Northern Ireland’s needs without reflecting some of these for Scotland and Wales. In addition, there is a power shift in this group as Wales’ First Minister strengthened his negotiating hand through gaining seats in Wales whilst Scotland’s First Minister’s power and influence over the Government diminished.
One demand certain to be part of the DUP deal will be to maintain the open border with the Irish Republic and this is probably only possible by remaining in the EU Customs Union. This can only be of benefit to Welsh businesses who will not want the bureaucracy and administration that would come with the imposition of borders with Europe.
So perhaps the potential for more Welsh influence over the Brexit agreement will actually mean the election outcome can prove a positive one for Wales. That is until another one is called.
Martin J Warren FCA
Director for Wales