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Ripening time? The Welsh Labour government between Brexit and parliamentary sovereignty

Davies, Gregory and Wincott, Daniel ORCID: 2023. Ripening time? The Welsh Labour government between Brexit and parliamentary sovereignty. British Journal of Politics and International Relations 25 (3) , pp. 462-479. 10.1177/13691481221104334

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The Welsh Labour government occupies a unique position in UK territorial politics, favouring neither the status quo nor independence for Wales while advocating a new settlement for the whole state. This article provides a detailed examination of its policy, focusing on its position on the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. Drawing from a range of documentary sources, we analyse the Welsh government’s constitutional proposals and its decision-making in the wake of the 2016 referendum on European Union membership. We argue that Welsh policy is defined by ambiguity. While it advances an alternative constitutional vision, it refrains from rejecting Westminster’s sovereignty outright. In the aftermath of the referendum, it sought to accommodate that sovereignty with its own constitutional claims through enhanced intergovernmental collaboration. In light of the Johnson administration’s centralising reforms, the strategy appears to have failed. Caught in the fractious politics of the Union, Welsh constitutional policy now faces an uncertain future.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Lficense ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1369-1481
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 August 2022
Date of Acceptance: 12 May 2022
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2023 11:48

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