Guto Bebb, the former Conservative MP for Aberconwy, has said that the party is now an ‘English nationalist party’.
“It is perfectly fair to say now that the Conservative Party has become an English nationalist party,” he said in an interview with Barn magazine.
Guto Bebb decided to step aside at the 2019 General Election after becoming one of 21 Tories who lost the whip after voting in favour of a Brexit deal.
In the interview, he criticises “those Tories” who believe the break-up of the union is a “price to pay” for Brexit, rather than preserving the union.
“These are not British characteristics but characteristics of English nationalism,” he said.
“And I really think it’s a tragedy in the Welsh context that the Conservative Party in Wales has become an advocate for English nationalism despite the efforts of people like [former Welsh Conservative leader] Nick Bourne to change the way the Conservative Party in Wales being seen.
“And I think the performance of some Conservative leaders in Wales has been extremely disappointing.”
Academician Richard Wyn Jones had described the party as the ‘party of everything is better in England’, and Guto Bebb drew attention to that in his interview.
“What is sad is that the ‘everything is better in England party’ has been better than that of Nick Bourne and the Welsh Conservatives’,” he said. “So maybe they are right.
“But what the opinion polls in Scotland show, and what is necessarily going to happen in Northern Ireland, clearly shows that the English nationalism of the Conservative Party has done a great deal of damage to the idea of Britishness. ”
Guto Bebb said that his “great fear” was that the UK Government’s post-Brexit plans will give the Wales Office in London more powers will undermine devolution.
“I joined the Conservative Party after William Hague [party leader 1997-2001] said the debate over devolution was over,” he said.
“It is therefore very sad that the very government that states that it wants to have closer control over home rather than control from Brussels sees devolution as a threat to its ability to dominate Britain.
“A Britain that includes only England and Wales would not be a nice thing to consider. It would be a very one-sided partnership. ”