Wales Bill

Explanatory Notes

Territorial extent and application

11 The Bill extends to the whole of the UK. However, the territorial extent of a Bill can be different from its application. Application is about where a Bill produces a practical effect. The details of this Bill’s application are set out in the following paragraphs.

12 The majority of the Bill clauses apply to the whole of the UK as they are of constitutional significance by devolving powers away from the UK Parliament and Secretaries of State.

13 The only exceptions to this are clauses 8-15 (which relate to the Assembly’s internal arrangements and therefore only apply to Wales) and clause 44 (which applies to England and Wales because it relates to sewerage in England being affect by what happens in Wales).

Part 1: Constitutional arrangements (clauses 1-7 and 16-21)

14 These clauses not only make constitutional provision about the status of the Welsh devolution settlement (clauses 1-2), but they also set out the matters that are to be devolved from Parliament and Secretaries of State to the Assembly and Welsh Ministers (clauses 3-7 and 16-21). They extend and apply to the whole of the UK.

There is a convention that Westminster will not normally legislate with regard to matters that are within the legislative competence of the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, or the Northern Ireland Assembly without the consent of the legislature concerned, through a legislative consent motion ("LCM"). An LCM is not required in the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly for clauses 1-7 and 16-21, given (i) the constitutional significance of these clauses and (ii) the fact that Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements are not matters within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly. However, the majority of these clauses trigger the need for an LCM in the Welsh Assembly as they relate to the competence of the Assembly and Welsh Ministers. Part 2: Legislative and executive competence: further provisions (clauses 22-46)

15 These clauses make further provision about the matters that will form part of the Assembly’s legislative competence and the Welsh Ministers’ executive competence. For the same reason as set out in relation to clauses 1-7 and 16-21 above, it is not considered that Part 2 of the Bill includes any provisions that require an LCM in the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly. However, given their effect on the powers of the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Ministers, the majority of these clauses require an LCM in the Welsh Assembly.

16 Part 3: Miscellaneous (clauses 47-50)

17 Clause 47 allows the Office for Budget Responsibility to request Welsh public finance information from devolved bodies. Clauses 48-50 provide for the role of Welsh Ministers in relation to Ofgem, the Coal Authority and Ofcom. Neither the Scottish Parliament nor the Northern Ireland Assembly could make equivalent provision in relation to the four bodies provided for in these clauses, therefore LCMs in Scotland and Northern Ireland will not be required. As this relates to the role of Welsh Ministers, an LCM will be required in the Welsh Assembly.

18 See the table in Annex A for a more detailed summary of the position regarding territorial extent and application in the United Kingdom. The table also summarises the position regarding LCMs and matters relevant to Standing Orders Nos. 83J to 83X of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons relating to Public Business.

 

Prepared 14th June 2016