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Boris Johnson refuses to say if he’d ‘respect’ a vote for Welsh independence

25 Mar 2021 2 minutes Read
Boris Johnson being questioned at the Commons Liaison Committee

Boris Johnson has refused to say whether he would “respect” a vote for Welsh independence.

The UK Prime Minister made the comments as he clashed with SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil over Scottish independence who he told 2014 vote was a “once in a generation” event.

Johnson was asked by Mr MacNeil’s question about whether he would respect a future vote in favour of independence in Scotland or Wales during a grilling at the Liaison Committee

He said: “When you ask people to vote on a highly controversial and divisive issue, an issue that breaks up family relationships, that is extremely toxic and divisive, and you tell them this is going to happen only once in a generation, I think you should stick to it.”

Stephen Crabb, a former cabinet minister and chairman of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, also pressed Mr Johnson on whether it had been the right call to have Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove manage the relationship with the devolved governments during the pandemic.

‘Sorry’ 

Johnson said he was “sorry” to hear that Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford had complained about having little contact with Downing Street and said that he would look to rectify the situation.

But the Prime Minister added that did not want to adopt a more federal model for managing the country, which is something that Mark Drakeford has repeatedly called for.

Johnson told the Committee: “I’m very much in favour of the Council of the Isles, for instance, where we come together, represented across the whole of the British Isles, to talk about issues that matter to us.

“On the other hand, I don’t think we want to turn our deliberations into a kind of mini-EU, if I may say so.

“Obviously I need a good relationship with everybody and I’ve talked many times to (devolved leaders) Nicola (Sturgeon), Mark (Drakeford), Michelle (O’Neill) and Arlene (Foster) and continue to do so – that’s the way it should be.

“What I don’t think would necessarily be right is to have a sort of permanent council, as it were, of the kind that is taking place tomorrow in Brussels.

“I don’t think that is the model we are after.”

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