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Boris Johnson’s ‘cavalier hostility to Wales’ democratic rights risks tearing the UK apart’

05 Mar 2021 3 minutes Read
Boris Johnson. Picture by EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (CC BY 2.0)

Boris Johnson’s “cavalier hostility to Wales’ democratic rights” risks “tearing the UK apart” according to a former Welsh Secretary.

Peter Hain, who was the MP for Neath, and now sits in the House of Lords, made the comments in the wake of a shock poll that put support for Welsh independence at an all time high of 39 per cent.

Boris Johnson has previously told a group of Tory MPs that devolution has been a “disaster” and that it was Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake”.

The ITV poll in collaboration with Savanta ComRes is a “grim warning” according to Hain.

Excluding don’t know answers, 39 per cent said they would vote ‘Yes’ if a referendum was held tomorrow, which outstrips the previous high of 32 per cent in a YouGov poll in August 2020.

YesCymru Chair Siôn Jobbins said the poll was “a major step forward” for the independence movement.

Hain told the Guardian: “This is a grim warning to Boris Johnson that his cavalier hostility to Wales’ democratic rights and parliament risks tearing the UK apart.

“He has single-handedly transformed derisory levels of independence support into a threatening one.”

‘Change’ 

Mick Antoniw, a Labour member of the Senedd, who is pushing for what he calls “radical federalism” for the UK, added: “There is no doubt that more and more people in Wales want change in our relationship with Westminster.

“This has mainly been fuelled by a UK Tory government intent on centralising power in Downing Street and its failure to engage with the Welsh government on key policies and reforms.

“For some, this takes the form of calls for independence and others, a radical federalism. The current relationship between the UK and Welsh governments is increasingly fractious and disconnected.

“I believe that now is the time for a Welsh “People’s Convention” to engage the people of Wales in deciding what the future governance of Wales should be and our relationship with the rest of the UK. Failure to embrace real change will lead to the break up of the UK.”

YesCymru Chair Siôn Jobbins said: “Although individual polls may go up and down the overall trend shows that more and more people are coming to the conclusion that the people of Wales are best placed to manage their own affairs like every other country.

“If countries like Ireland and Denmark can be independent, then why not Wales? YesCymru aims to build a fairer and better Wales for all who call Wales home.”

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price also responded to the poll, saying: “This confirms the growing view that the Union is failing all parts of the UK beyond the Westminster bubble.

“Decisions affecting Wales should be made in Wales, this is a simple matter of democracy to which the Tories and Labour are opposed.

“For everyone who wants to see Wales become a fairer, greener and more prosperous nation, there is only one credible option on the ballot paper on May 6th. Only a Plaid Cymru government can deliver a referendum on Welsh independence which more and more people want to see.”

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