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Swansea will benefit from new authority.

Byline: RICHARD YOULE Local democracy reporter richard.youle@walesonline.co.uk

UP to 200 jobs could be created in Swansea as part of a new Government agency when the UK leaves the European Union, the Secretary of State for Wales has said.

Alun Cairns said the new Independent Monitoring Authority has been agreed between Westminster and the European Commission as part of the current withdrawal agreement.

The new authority, he said, would comprise lawyers and legal experts who would ensure that the rights of EU citizens living in the UK were upheld.

"It is a highly specialised area of law," said Mr Cairns.

"I can confirm that it is going to be based in Swansea. All parts of the UK were fighting for it."

He added that the new body would be guaranteed for 30 years, and it would be set up as soon as the UK left the EU.

Although Mr Cairns, the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, said the Independent Monitoring Authority was agreed as part of the current withdrawal deal, which MPs have rejected three times, he said it would have to be set up in some form on the basis that all Conservative leader candidates have promised to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK.

Theresa May had hoped to bring her amended withdrawal bill before the House of Commons in early June, following lengthy negotiations with Labour, but the position is now uncertain.

A spokesman for Number 10 Downing Street said: "We have to be aware of the situation we are now in. Clearly we all need to reflect on the next steps over the coming days."

The Prime Minister will step down on June 7, and her replacement is expected to be in post by the end of July. The new deadline for leaving the EU is October 31.

In the 2016 referendum, 51.5% of the electorate who voted in Swansea opted to leave while 48.5% voted to remain.

Former AM Mr Cairns, who was brought up in Clydach, called on MPs in Swansea and across Wales to reflect on the outcome of the referendum and last week's European elections.

The Tories, with just under 9% of the vote, took a pasting while Labour fared little better with less than 14%.

"I am naturally disappointed in the outcome for my party," said Mr Cairns. "I think it derived from not having delivered on Brexit."

He said he was not surprised by Labour's showing given that it, as well as the Conservatives, had backed Brexit in their 2017 general election manifestos.

"I voted to remain (in 2016), but I am committed to leave," said Mr Cairns.

CAPTION(S):

<B Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said the new Independent Monitoring Authority has been agreed between Westminster and the European Commission as part of the current withdrawal agreement

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 30, 2019
Words:475
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