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Devolution of Crown Estate a ‘total red herring’ by ‘cynical nationalists’, Tory MP claims

10 Feb 2022 4 minutes Read
Stephen Crabb by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

A Welsh Tory MP has claimed the devolution of the Crown Estate is a “total red herring”, which is being used by “cynical” nationalists.

Stephen Crabb, who represents the constituency of Preseli Pembrokeshire, hit out at the idea that the Senedd should control the royal profits generated in Wales instead of Westminster, suggesting it was “anti-United Kingdom”.

The Conservative politician was speaking in a debate on the issue in the House of Commons, which was called by pro-independence party Plaid Cymru, who are pushing for the power over the resources to be held in Wales.

In his reply to Crabb, the Westminster-appointed Welsh Secretary Simon Hart criticised what he described as “nationalists who just wish to look at everything through the prism of their own power base”.

In the debate Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams argued that Wales has the “right to reap the benefits” its “own natural resources”.

The Arfon MP argued that it is also “simply a matter of fairness” for the powers to be devolved to Wales because Westminster has already devolved the power to Scotland.

The Plaid politician suggested doing so would provide much needed revenue for the Welsh Government to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

He also pointed to a petition, which has almost 10,000 signatures, in support of Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts MP’s Crown Estate (Devolution to Wales) Bill.

The Crown Estate is a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch. It holds the rights to seabeds around the British Isles.

The Crown Estate in Wales generated £8.7 million in revenue last year, which went into the coffers of the UK Treasury because it is still controlled by Westminster. It’s marine portfolio in Wales is valued £549.1 million.

Control of the Crown Estate in Scotland has recently enabled the Scottish Government to reap a £700m bonanza in a ScotWind leasing auction. It attracted more than 70 bids from energy companies, utility firms and investment funds from around the world.

‘Anti-United Kingdom’ 

Crabb said: “Devolution of the Crown Estate is a total red herring, and it so cynical of nationalists to turn every issue into an anti-United Kingdom process row.

“Does my right hon. Friend agree that floating offshore wind represents a hugely important opportunity for Wales, particularly for the port of Milford Haven in my constituency—Milford Haven is shared by his constituency—and will he assure the House that he and his colleagues at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are doing everything to ensure that Wales and Pembrokeshire benefit from the opportunities of renewable marine energy?”

The Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: “My right hon. Friend is right; I met the Crown Estate last week and had exactly that conversation. I have to say that it was an exciting, interesting, innovative conversation about all the possibilities that he mentions, which exist across the whole UK but particularly in the Celtic sea.

“I repeat what I said earlier: the emphasis and impetus come from investors, members of the public and port authorities, not from nationalists who just wish to look at everything through the prism of their own power base.”

‘Our own natural resources’

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams said: “The Secretary of State has just said that there is no public interest or appetite at all for devolving the Crown Estate. By this morning 10,000 have signed a petition asserting Wales’s right to reap the benefits of our own natural resources.

“The Scotwind auction raised almost £700m for Scotland’s public finances, and to reassure the Secretary of State, this is not a new tax. In the heat of the cost-of-living crisis, Scottish renewable natural resources generate revenue for the benefit of the Scottish people, providing a better welfare service than that in Wales.

“Is it not clear that devolving the Crown Estate to Scotland has improved government’s ability to respond to the cost-of-living crisis, and so it would in Wales?”

Simon Hart MP responded: “Shock horror that that petition was going to be raised. It represents a tiny, tiny proportion of the people of Wales.”

Hywel Williams added: “‘Parity with Scotland’ is possibly not be the catchiest of slogans, but here, it is simply a matter of fairness. So will the Secretary of State now commit, in this Parliament, to the devolution of the Crown Estate to Wales?”

Simon Hart responded, “No, Mr Speaker.”


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Gareth W
Gareth W
3 months ago

How can these tory MPs claim to represent the interests of Wales when they clearly do not ?

Andrew
Andrew
3 months ago

Better to look through the,’ prism of our own power base’, than the stagnant p#!s pot that Westminster use to view us through.

Gareth
Gareth
3 months ago

I suppose the money raised by having control of the Crown Estates is a “red herring” to Tory’s, when it will only be in the millions, compared to the Billions they have wasted this last year or so. Why would they give us control, when they can give the money to friends and family in the form of backhanders and dodgy deals. Like HS2, we are expected to pay for it, and shut up and not complain.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

This is very dangerous and divisive rhetoric . Not everyone who supports parity with Scotland and Northern Ireland is a supporter of independence. Its about fairness. If they are against Wales having powers over the Crown Estate then why devolved it to Scotland? Are we a second nation?

Last edited 3 months ago by Rob
Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Johnson’s actions say “yes”.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Yes, I think you have hit the nail on the head.

Gareth Cemlyn Jones
Gareth Cemlyn Jones
3 months ago

This is a foretaste of what post Scottish independence will look like for Wales! No leverage and no additional devolved powers to the ‘west of England’ region!

Last edited 3 months ago by Gareth Cemlyn Jones
CJPh
CJPh
3 months ago

I’m not sure he knows what ‘cynical’ means.

Crwtyddol
Crwtyddol
3 months ago

Inconsistency in Government decisions is one of the most despicable failings possible as it ignores what is the most fundamental Human right ..Justice.
To ignore injustice even as it is pointed out is in excusable.

Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago

Who cares what this e-mail nuisance thinks?

hdavies15
hdavies15
3 months ago

Obviously Crabb’s turn to churn out some dross in defence of the indefensible. The Crown Estate is an anachronism which should be devolved and renamed the National Estate.

Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
3 months ago

If Crabb and Hart really believe that the matter is a red herring and petty, let them explain why Wales should not be given the control income from the Crown Estate. You could argue that to do so could be classed as levelling up, as it is in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.. Why not Wales?

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
3 months ago
Reply to  Ieuan Evans

Because they have nothing but contempt for Wales and its people.

Arwyn
Arwyn
3 months ago

What Nation doesn’t want control of its assets so that it can invest the revenues in its future. We should also point out the sheer hypocrisy of Tories in calling anyone “cynical” or “nationalist.” Is the name calling intended to divert our attention from Tories possessing those “qualities” in abundance?

Malcolmrj
Malcolmrj
3 months ago

I can’t believe what I heard in parliament the other day.two Welsh MPS saying that we can’t have control over Welsh assets i thought the days of Robin Wales blind had gone i thought wrong and to listen to them Welsh traters doing they’re best to put Wales down makes me despair what hope have Our children got that performance should be shown in full on Welsh TV or on U Tube

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
3 months ago

A very low argument from another Tory.

I know many Tories have low opinions of us Welsh, although I didn’t think, until reading this, that Stephen Crabb did. Siomedig. I honestly thought he was different. How wrong I was!

Last edited 3 months ago by Mr Williams
R W
R W
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Sadly, time and time again, every one of the so-called “Welsh Tory” MPs and SMs show themselves for what they are; vile and abhorrent BritNats hell-bent on keeping Wales and its citizens firmly in their place as a second class nation.
What I want to know is, what did Welsh Labour MPs have to say during the debate ? Did they stand up for Wales or were we deafened by their silence? I fear it would have been the latter.

Philip Jones
Philip Jones
3 months ago

Just another colony to them to be exploited and impoverished.

R W
R W
3 months ago

Actually, a Welsh only petition gaining 10,000 votes is the equivalent to a UK wide petition gaining around 200,000 votes, which is considered to be an extraordinarily large petition by any standards.

Argol Fawr!
Argol Fawr!
3 months ago

Well Mr Crabb, I refer you to one of your respected own talking about the government you spinelessly support.

“Outright lies breed contempt”… John Major

You have no integrity Mr Crabb. Go, you don’t represent Wales.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
3 months ago

The reality that much of current Welsh politics is defined by the fight to safeguard and strengthen devolution in the face of Westminster sabotage and anti-Wales propaganda should be enough to convince S. Crabb that Plaid Cymru are not acting cynically over this important matter. They are merely acting in support of Wales’ interests.

Grayham Jones
3 months ago

We in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

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