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‘Actively hostile’ UK Government means ‘we’re sleepwalking towards the end of the Union’ says Drakeford

14 Jul 2021 3 minutes Read
First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government.

The First Minister has said that the UK is “sleepwalking” towards the end of the Union if the UK Government does not change its attitude towards devolution.

Appearing in front of a House of Lords Committee on the Future Governance of the UK, Mark Drakeford said that the UK Government was the first in his political career that was “actively hostile” to the Welsh Government and Senedd.

He said that the UK Government had shown a “confrontational approach – an approach of muscular unionism. Aggressively unilateral in the way that it goes about things”.

“The union is under the greatest pressure it has ever been in my political lifetime,” he said.

“With the current UK Government, we face for the first time in the history of devolution a government that is instinctively hostile to devolution.

“We’ve never worked with a government that is instinctively hostile to the notion of devolution. It certainly doesn’t have to be like that – it hasn’t been like that for most of the 20 years of devolution.”

‘Wasteful’

Mark Drakeford added that he believed that Wales’ future was best secured by being a member of a successful United Kingdom.

“The Welsh Government is that rather vanishing creature – a government that believes in the United Kingdom,” he said.

“We are sleepwalking if we’re not careful into the end of the union as we know it.”

He added that while he wanted Scotland to say in the Union, “[it] has to be something people want to belong to. It can’t just be asserted or required in their lives”.

“The weight of opinion in Wales continues to be in favour of stronger, entrenched devolution,” he said. However, the way the UK Government was attempting to overrule the Welsh Government ran contrary to that.

“We have example after example of where powers are devolved to Wales, have been in Wales since the start of devolution, and the approach of the UK Government is to come in, spend money themselves in those devolved areas, undermining, undercutting devolution, using that money less effectively – it’s less effective, it’s more wasteful,” he said.

“And it stokes political tensions. It gives ammunition to those people who have come to the conclusion that the Union is over and that we’d be better off outside it.”

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j humphrys
j humphrys
3 months ago

“We”…………..and he doesn’t mean us, folks.

Thank God for Offa
Thank God for Offa
3 months ago

Britain, Britain, Britain

OUT OUT OUT!

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 months ago

He’s still dreaming of a United Kingdom of equal nations – it’s not going to happen. The UK government does not want it, full stop. What will it take for him to fully realise that, a P45 when the Tories eventually burn down the Senedd (Yes, I am refering to Hitler and the Reichstag) ? The only way for our country is now independence before it is too late.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

It’s never existed… only perhaps in cuckoo land.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago

Whether you agree with his politics or his stance on the union that was a masterclass of a performance this morning. He answered all questions fully and carefully with no spin and the occasional wry humour which the committee appreciated. He won over even his most firm Tory opponents and Lords Dunlop and Faulkes seemed particularly impressed with his command of the subject. These guys have been dealing with blustering Boris BS merchant and you could see the relief on their faces as he answered in detail. He made the point to a committee half made up of Brexiteers that… Read more »

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
3 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Well hopefully, not too many Conservative MPs were won over, because we need the option of independence right and firmly on the table. “Federalism” would make leaving the UK even harder. It would be underpinned by a constitution mandating perhaps two thirds parliamentary support to secede (as is the case in France and the United States). People are naive if they believe it will be a “stepping stone” to independence; it won’t. The Conservative Government won’t willingly grant us “home rule” anyway. The very term has strong historical and political connotations of what happened in Ireland last century and is… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by SundanceKid
Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
3 months ago
Reply to  SundanceKid

Independence would be the preferred option, obvously, but right now Drakeford is carrying out his mandate of speaking on behalf of the majority of Cymry who want greater devolution, devo-max, or effective home rule. This current constitutional and cultural face-off could go one of several ways. Either Johnson will ignore Drakeford’s warning, and the indy movement will gather strength whether the First Minister likes it or not; or the Westminster Government will realise that Johnson’s ‘muscular unionism’ is having the opposite effect to that intended, that Johnson is a liability, and there will be a leadership challenge followed by a… Read more »

Dave
Dave
3 months ago
Reply to  SundanceKid

perfectly articulated but there is a caveat, if all else fails and I agree it is inevitable that it will, then the there two options left for us in Wales. We either capitulate with the English Parliament or we have our own namely independence. That is why we should cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s, for no other reason than our national standing on an international stage.

Bruce
Bruce
3 months ago

“We are sleepwalking if we’re not careful into the end of the union as we know it.”
Good.

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