Wales: Devolution law row breaks out over appointment of law officer as Brexit minister
The Welsh Government has been accused by opposition parties of breaching devolution legislation by appointing its independent legal adviser as its Brexit minster.
Jeremy Miles, Assembly Member for Neath, will continue in the role of Counsel General for Wales, which he has held since November 2017, as well as taking on ministerial responsibility for Brexit.
Section 49(9) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 states: “A person holding office as the First Minister, a Welsh Minister appointed under section 48 or a Deputy Welsh Minister may not be appointed as the Counsel General or designated under subsection (6); and the Counsel General or a person so designated may not be appointed to any of those offices.”
However, First Minister Mark Drakeford has insisted the appointment is not illegal because Mr Miles’ appointment as Brexit minister was not made under section 48 of the legislation.
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: “The counsel general and Brexit minister is not appointed under section 48 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, and as such will not be exercising any statutory powers conferred on the Welsh ministers when carrying out his ministerial responsibilities.
“He will however still be able to represent Welsh Government in negotiations, provide advice on strategy, as well as coordinate a coherent and consistent approach to the Welsh Government’s response to Brexit.”