Conservative commentator complains about Welsh Labour allowing pro-indy candidates
A conservative commentator has complained about Welsh Labour allowing pro-independence candidates to stand for the party in parliamentary elections.
Henry Hill, Deputy Editor of ConservativeHome, lamented the Westminster Labour Party’s “failure to crack down” on this, and described it as “deeply concerning”.
He was responding to reports that Scottish Labour might follow the party’s example in Wales by allowing pro-independence to stand in parliamentary elections too.
According to the Sunday Times it is one of the options that senior Labour figures are discussing in a bid to overturn more than a decade of SNP dominance in Scotland.
A senior Labour source told the Sunday Times: “Yes we are a pro-unionist party but we are a broad church. That means you could have candidates who back independence. You don’t have to have a binary position; you can have people with different stances.”
In an article for CapX, Hill wrote: “Naturally, the headlines have been stolen by suggestions that Labour might run pro-independence candidates in Scotland, as they already have in Wales. But whilst the national party’s failure to crack down on this is deeply concerning, this time at least it looks like someone freelancing.”
Hill also hit out at the idea that Westminster should hand over more powers to the parliaments of the devolved nations.
‘Real cause for dismay’
He added: “It’s the actual proposals in Brown’s upcoming report, to which Starmer appears to have committed himself in advance, that are the real cause for dismay. Once again, he is touting ‘devo-max’.
He quoted the Sunday Times, which said: “Gordon Brown’s blueprint for devolving further sweeping powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is expected to recommend Holyrood be handed responsibility to set its own policy in most areas but not defence and foreign affairs.”
Hill added: “When I have crossed swords with Brown and other devolutionaries over the past couple of years, I’ve been told that my characterisation of their position as just being about ‘more powers!’ is unfair. It’s actually so much more imaginative, all about finding ways to reform the centre so the Union works better and…
“But no. With the bleak inevitability of an unloved season, here we are again. Keep giving more powers to the devocrats and hope that this time, for reasons that cannot be clearly explained, it works.”
In response to suggestions that pro-independence candidates could stand for the party, Scottish Labour said: “Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar are committed to delivering a Labour government that works for all people across the UK.”
John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, has warned that recent polls suggest devo-max is less popular than the status quo or independence.
He said: “Devo-max does not address the issue that now fuels much of the support for independence: opposition to Brexit.”
Welsh Labour fielded three pro-independence candidates at the last Senedd election. Cian Ireland stood for the party in Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Dylan Lewis-Rowlands stood in Ceredigion, and Ben Gwalchmai stood on the Mid and West Wales list.
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