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  • Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) welcomes the announcement by the Welsh Government that it is formally opposing the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill, better known as the ‘anti-boycott bill’ and recommending that the Senedd withhold its consent
  • This decision by the Welsh Labour Government is the latest blow to Michael Gove’s toxic anti-boycott bill, following the Scottish Government’s decision to formally oppose it in August
  • It comes in the wake of opposition from across the political spectrum and an active campaign by more than 70 civil society organisations led by PSC

The Welsh Government has announced it is formally opposing Michael Gove’s toxic anti-boycott bill and recommending that the Welsh Senedd withhold legislative consent. This follows months of campaigning by PSC and a coalition of more than 70 civil society organisations to demand the Welsh government and Senedd oppose the bill. Welsh Senedd members, including the leader of the governing Welsh Labour party, Mark Drakeford, were lobbied to oppose the bill as an attack on freedom of expression and the right of devolved administrations and public bodies to make ethical decisions around investment and procurement.

This announcement by the Welsh government follows the Scottish government’s decision to oppose the bill in August. It adds to the growing opposition to the bill from across the political spectrum, seen in the House of Commons when it was debated in July. This month the TUC also passed a motion at its annual congress, announcing opposition to the bill from the trade union movement and the millions of workers it represents.

Rebecca Evans, Welsh Minister for Finance and Local Government, said in her memorandum to the Senedd: ‘I cannot recommend consent is given whilst questions remain as to the compatibility of this Bill with convention rights and international law. In addition, I note that there has been widespread criticism of this Bill from amongst the legal and academic community, in relation to the way it has been drafted and how it is intended to operate in practice. I share those concerns..’ 

|Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK (PSC), says,

“This principled decision by the Welsh Government is the latest blow to this pernicious bill. The Welsh Government has rightly identified the incompatibility of the anti-boycott bill with conventions of rights and international law.

This decision will add further weight to the growing opposition to this Bill – in the UK Parliament, Scottish government, across civil society and amongst the general public.  We urge all of those who recognise the threat the anti-boycott bill poses to democratic freedoms to ramp up the pressure on MPs to ensure it is defeated when it goes back to Parliament for its next reading.”