ALLOWING the UK Government to pass new legislation in devolved areas such as farming in preparation for Brexit has reduced the Welsh Assembly's powers, a report has warned.

Last month first minister Mark Drakeford said he had consented to the UK Government legislating on devolved matters "where there is no divergence on policy between Wales and the UK", as putting in place all the required Brexit legislation "would have required six months of the Assembly’s and the government’s time to be spent making more legislation than is normally made in a year in Wales".

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But now a report by the Welsh Assembly's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee has raised concerns over the arrangement, saying it has amounted to a reduction in devolved powers.

In a letter to the first minister, committee chairman Mick Antoniw said: "We accept that Brexit is resulting in the need for difficult decisions to be taken but we believe that the Welsh Government has become over-reliant on the UK Government to legislate on its behalf.

"While we accept that the intention is not to limit or frustrate the Assembly’s role as a legislature, that is unfortunately becoming the reality.

"As our report and other correspondence highlights, one of the unintended consequences of this approach has been the Welsh ministers consenting to a reduction in the National Assembly’s legislative competence."

South Wales Argus:

Chairman of the Welsh Assembly's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee Mick Antoniw

Mr Antoniw also said he was concerned, while the first minister had previously said any Brexit-related bills would have to be fast-tracked, reducing the opportunity for the Assembly to scrutinise them, allowing the UK Government to legislate instead reducing the opportunity for scrutiny further still.

He added: "These are extraordinary circumstances but it is unfortunate that the role of the National Assembly in shaping the legislative implications of these circumstances has been marginalised as a result of decisions taken by the Welsh Government."