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Backlash as Tory peer suggests rolling back devolution

20 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Former Brexit minister Lord Frost, PA Images

A column written by a senior Conservative peer which suggested stripping Wales and Scotland of devolved powers has been widely condemned, including by some in his own party.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, former lead Brexit negotiator Lord Frost urged Tory ministers, “if re-elected”, to begin to “review and roll back some currently devolved powers”.

In his article Lord Frost wrote: “Devolution was about enabling powers to be exercised closer to the people in a more practical and accountable way.

“Instead, it has resulted in the creation of closed-shop fiefdoms, effective one-party states, a tinpot amateurish one in Wales and a seriously dangerous one in Scotland.

“Let’s not forget that most people in Scotland oppose independence and in Wales there is real ambivalence even about the extent of devolution.”

“We, the Conservative Party and the Conservative Government, have allowed this to happen,” he added.

“It’s time to fix it. Ministers should make clear that, if re-elected, they will review and roll back some currently devolved powers.

“In particular, Scotland does not need to be an independent actor on the world stage; it should not be able to legislate to disrupt free trade within the UK; and it does not need to have most tax raising powers currently available to it.

“These powers are embryonic, independent government powers.

“They aren’t necessary to run an effective local administration, which is what devolution should be about.

“I hope, of course, that Labour might do likewise and drop its sneaking admiration for socialism in one (devolved) nation, but I am not holding my breath.”

Attacked

His comments were attacked by the SNP, and by some Scottish Tories. SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said Lord Frost’s proposals show the “Tory mask has slipped”.

He added: “It’s clear Westminster’s repeated attacks on Scotland are a deliberate, co-ordinated attempt to reverse devolution, roll-back the powers of the Scottish Parliament and force Scotland under Westminster control.”

Scottish Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said on Twitter: “The Tories are already attacking and undermining Scottish devolution. Now their Brexit negotiator @DavidGHFrost says they should ‘put it in reverse’.”

Scottish Tory Murdo Fraser described the comments as “nonsense”, adding on Twitter: “Devolution has allowed us to shine a light on SNP failures. The @Conservatives will not be rolling it back.”

Fellow Tory MSP Stephen Kerr tweeted: “Strongly disagree with this article.

“A poor Scottish Government isn’t justification to roll back devolution, any more than issues at the UKGOV are justification for Scottish separation. Devolution works. It’s the SNP that are failing.”

Tory constitution spokesman Donald Cameron added: “What a load of baloney. Devolution hasn’t failed and no Conservative should want to reverse it.”

A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “Lord Frost is a backbench peer and entitled to his personal views.

“Our view, shared by the UK party, is that the problem is not with devolution but with this divided and distracted SNP Government.”

Plaid Cymru MP, Liz Saville Roberts said: “For an unelected Lord to pontificate on democracy is beyond satire. The people of Wales have supported devolution in consecutive elections and referendums, whereas not a single person has ever voted for David Frost.

“The best thing we can do for Welsh democracy is ignore his inchoate ramblings. He’s done enough damage already with his cack-handed Brexit.”


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Richard 1
Richard 1
11 months ago

Yes Liz. Inchoate is Word of the Week – rudimentary, unfinished, not established. And neatly suggesting incoherent. Frost in a nutshell.

Richard 1
Richard 1
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard 1

and why don’t we spoonerize him? Fraud Lost

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard 1

Spoonerising is ever present in my life and this one is a belter. Well done.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
11 months ago

That is the way all Tories think total control freaks they want to run the whole country for the benefit of a london based government for England

Some1
Some1
11 months ago

It’s good to see Mr Brexit is cool with ignoring the results of referenda. Presumably he speaks for the entire party who won’t mind at all if Brexit is reversed after the next election.

The original mark
The original mark
11 months ago

It would be wise not to ignore idiots like Frost, ukip was ignored and ridiculed and look at the mess they’ve created. The tories tell us that they support the NHS and aren’t interested in privatisation, while we can see it happening all around us, they support devolution in a similar way. It’s time we got more proactive in defending Wales against these constant attacks from the tories and msm.

Windy
Windy
11 months ago

Again it shows you can tell if a tory mp is telling lies because his lips move

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
11 months ago

I’ve just read “Lord” Frost’s piece in the Telegraph and must agree with one point he makes, i.e. ‘neoliberal England IS backward.

John
John
11 months ago

Written in the Daily Bellylaugh No surprise there then.

Rob
Rob
11 months ago

How about letting the Scottish and Welsh Tories do their job independently and hold their respective governments to account potentially coming an electable alternative? In Wales that means replacing R2D2 Davies with someone more rational.

Furthermore Wales and Scotland both voted in favour of devolution in the 1997 and 2011 referendums. We are told time and time again to respect the Brexit result after all

Frank
Frank
11 months ago

I thought we were all equals in the UK but it seems that England want to show their dominance once again. A battle fought nearly 800 years ago in a meadow, when Wales was overpowered by 20-1 against, and they still think they are eternal rulers over everyone. It’s time to break away completely from this power-drunk race and start undoing the harm they have done to us over eight centuries.

Last edited 11 months ago by Frank
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
11 months ago

This guy belongs to a party which says it stands up for democracies except for those democratically achieved through the ballot box in Wales and Scotland which should be stamped out without the people being asked. He is a dangerous dictatorial authoritarian extremist. Devolution HAS enabled powers to be exercised closer to the people in many ways not least in the provision of free prescriptions. He would have us paying a tenner per item and he cannot live with the fact that we have rejected his party at every election ever held so the only option left is to impose… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
11 months ago

Typical Tory, they will only accept a vote that goes their way. They lost the devolution vote, so from the day Theresa May said in Westminster she would reverse it, but lost to Blair, they have been after us. Dont like international laws,so now they want a bill to ignore them pushed through parliament . Dont like human rites, so the ignore them in the migrant bill.Nothing new here same old imperialist clap trap.

Llyn
Llyn
11 months ago

Wonder if Andrew RT Davies would echo the Scottish Tory criticism of the incompetent Frost’s comments? Doubt it, considering the Welsh Tories have moved to right/far-right and become UKIP in all but name under RT.

Expect Welsh Tories to come out in favour of another referendum on devolution before long. It’s the obvious end point for the now populist, British nationalist party.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
11 months ago

So Lord Brexit continues to spout nonsense. I like his comment that “it has resulted in the creation of closed-shop fiefdoms, effective one-party states” except that he has applied it to the wrong event. Devolution has worked, but Brexit has yielded just what he was describing.

By the way, the Commons must now debate the impact of Brexit as the Peition call for that has exceeded 100k. The petition is still open here, in case anybody who has not signed it wishes to add their name. The more people who do the greater the impact it will have.

Marc
Marc
11 months ago

This is a great achievement for Screaming Lord Frost, he has furthered the cause for Welsh and Scottish independence and the abolishment of the House or Lords in one article, keep up the good work!

Last edited 11 months ago by Marc
Llyn
Llyn
11 months ago

This article is a clear example to those pushing for Welsh independence or who believe in Welsh home rule that whatever certain parties might spin, Labour are clearly not the same as the Conservatives.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
11 months ago

So they wanted Brexit so they can take back control from the E U by telling a pack of lies and false promises and they have made a right mess of the four countries now they want to take back control from devolved nations NO THANKS they know its a step for independence and they do not want that because they need those 3 countries more than we need little england

Benjiman Angwin
Benjiman Angwin
11 months ago

When do we get the Conservatives back from Libertarians and English Nationalists?

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
11 months ago

Keep it going Tory fanatics – you are helping us gain more support for independence every time you utter a word.

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