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Drakeford says introduction of 20mph default speed limit will not lead to loss of votes for Labour

09 Oct 2023 4 minute read
First Minister, Mark Drakeford

The First Minister has said that the Welsh Government’s decision to reduce the default speed limit to 20mph will not lead to a loss of votes for his party.

Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, Mark Drakeford also said Labour’s record in government in Wales was never going to be “writ large” as the blueprint for a Westminster government.

The introduction of the new speed limit last month has drawn harsh criticism from some, with senior Conservatives claiming at their conference that similar measures could be introduced under a Labour government in Westminster.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has distanced himself from previous remarks in which he described Mr Drakeford’s administration as a “blueprint” for his own programme for government.

But Mr Drakeford appeared unfazed by this, telling the Press Association that he expected Sir Keir to “look around at everything” being done by Labour politicians across the UK, including metro mayors Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, as well as Welsh Labour.

He went on: “Then to look at all those things and then to draw on them informing the policy prospectus of the next Labour Government.

“Wales will certainly play our part in that, but the idea that the United Kingdom was going to be Wales writ large, I don’t think that was ever a serious idea.”

Further devolution 

Mr Drakeford also said he would welcome further devolution of power if Labour were to win the next general election, including plans to devolve youth justice and probation to Wales as recommended by former prime minister Gordon Brown.

But he added that the “first job” of a Labour government would be to protect the existing devolution settlement from what he called “rogue” Westminster governments.

Mr Drakeford has previously criticised former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss and PM Rishi Sunak for not engaging with devolved authorities, and for apparent attempts to overrule decisions made in Scotland and Wales.

“In a constitutional sense what we really need the next Labour government to do is to entrench the devolution settlement so that it is no longer vulnerable to the actions of a rogue government of the sort we have seen since 2019,” Mr Drakeford said.

“So the first job of an incoming Labour government in this case is actually to use the Brown report’s prescriptions to put the devolution settlement on a footing that is protected against a future government of the sort we have just seen.”

The Labour First Minister said he “absolutely” did not think that the 20mph default speed limit implemented in Wales would lose Labour votes at the general election, nor the next Senedd poll.

He told PA: “What we are accused of is a policy that saves people’s lives, a policy that will prevent people from dying and will prevent thousands of serious accidents on our roads and will save the time and the money of our emergency services, will give people back the streets that they live on so that they become more liveable.

“What we are asking everybody to do is to drive a little bit more slowly in order to achieve those aims. I think that bargain, as people see it practically, they will see it for the modest bargain it is.”

He added that similar measures were being pursued by councils across England, and that decisions were “just part of a movement that is far beyond Wales and far beyond the United Kingdom”.

Co-operation deal

Mr Drakeford was also unconcerned that Plaid Cymru does not wish to renew its Senedd co-operation deal with his party once it expires.

Plaid’s leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has told the media his party will not seek to renew the three-year deal once it expires.

Mr Drakeford told PA: “In December we will be two years through a three-year agreement and Plaid Cymru are committed to completing the three-year deal. By then, we will be within 15 months of a Senedd election.

“I don’t suppose it was ever my expectation that as parties gear up for an election that we would have the same sort of detailed, formal, written-down close co-operation we have had on those issues.”

But he said he did expect informal co-operation to continue once the deal ends.

He said: “It becomes a bit more challenging as elections approach of course, that is the nature of politics, but I am also sure that people who have the best interests of the Senedd and of Wales at heart will still want to co-operate where that is in everybody’s interest.”


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Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago

Making a Labour UK Gov “Wales writ large” might not be a bad thing in some ways. Because decades of “England writ large” have been disastrous really, for them AND us.
But better would be full independence, but with a Union of some kind. Maybe with other European nations too? I’m sure I’ve heard of something like that before

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

How about giving devolution to England, so that Westminster acts as a federal government, and England having its own devolved assembly? Might be clearer to distinguish what policies and laws apply to which nation.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

My personal preference would be for full independence. But a federal system with decentralised power like you suggest could be a next best alternative, so long as England did not exert disproportionate power at Federal level due to their larger population.

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Decentralised power, does that mean like the good old days when each county could deal with its taxation and registration of cars? A devolved DVLC like?

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

No

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
7 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

Yea great we could have signs on the border saying Welsh laws apply and English laws apply, and maybe different driving licences for each country because of different laws apply.

saveenergy
saveenergy
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

That’s a good idea; We could cal it the ‘European Union’ or EU for short !!!

Peter Williams.
Peter Williams.
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

There was an arrangement like that. But the Welsh electorate voted to leave it in 2016.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago

Well a small portion of the Welsh election voted for it. And shame on them

Twm Llewelyn
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Was that small portion as you call it nota greater % than any other part if the UK.

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

The majority voted for that !!!

David Zenati-Parsons
David Zenati-Parsons
7 months ago

Welsh electorate and Welsh people are 2 different things, you need to consider the influx of foreign nationals that flood Wales namely 30% of our population were not born here. see Cardiff Uni study of the Brexit vote for clarification

saveenergy
saveenergy
7 months ago

“introduction of 20mph default speed limit will not lead to loss of votes for Labour”
There will be a small loss of votes due to the speed thing !!

BUT the large loss of votes will be because of …

  • State of NHS Wales
  • State of Transport
  • Lack of energy security
  • Politicians we can’t trust (mind you, that’s across the board)
  • The farm
  • The Airport
  • The Covid-19 c**k-ups
  • Years of the hypocrisy & arrogance of dick-tator Dripford.

The man & his crew shouldn’t be allowed to run a bath, certainly not a country.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
7 months ago
Reply to  saveenergy

Who is ‘Dripford’ and what is a ‘dick-tator’?

Annibendod
Annibendod
7 months ago
Reply to  saveenergy

Sounds like a check list of Tory attack lines to me. Which of these opinions did you form yourself?

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago
Reply to  saveenergy

Well from the way your post is written, I speculate you would prefer ARTie and Rishi’s party in power? I’d be surprised if that happens. On current predictions, there will be few blue seats in Cymru after the general election. With a total wipeout still a possibility. Whatever the political map after the next general and Senedd Elections, there will most likely be a lot less blue on it. A LOT less.

saveenergy
saveenergy
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

It’s not a ‘political attack’ … it’s a factual observation.
Has NHS Wales & State of Transport improved ??Were The farm & The Airport profitable investments ??Were The Covid-19 c**k-ups presided over by our own Mask-less Dancing Queen Drakeford ??

Last edited 7 months ago by saveenergy
Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Why do all our so called politically minded people like you think everyone is right wing or stupid if they dare disagree with you. I call it democracy so please listen.

Richard E
Richard E
7 months ago
Reply to  saveenergy

A loss for sure in areas like Deeside and Rhyl but many of these folk switched to Boris last time and have gone off the Torys….where do they go ?

Annibendod
Annibendod
7 months ago

1. Labour will lose votes in Wales owing to the 20mph speed limit change. I think the 1st Minister is misled or misleading if he wishes to stand by that statement. Does he recognise the strength of feeling? Regardless of opinion on this? 2. Piecemeal devolution is not going to protect our parliament. That requires a constitutional change in which the “primacy of Westminster” is ended in law. Will Labour do that? They have already stated that they will uphold it so the answer is no – Labour will not move to protect the Senedd from the Tories. Remember folks… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago

What it has done is shown the Cons will ignore the state of the UK that they created and try desperately via far right media (Musks failing platform, Mail, ARTD, gbeebies etc.) to get a wedge issue that is of no importance just to retain power. UK NHS sinking, failing infrastructure, hate filled home sec, covid contracts, covid deaths, the list goes on, cons reply “but but but 20mph”. Risible. I know Wales Labour have failings but you think the Cons have an answer? No, they will be worse. Least they can do is button it and do some decent… Read more »

max wallis
max wallis
7 months ago

Of course Labour will lose votes from 20mph – not the fact, but the way it was voted through at Senedd level with no widespread consultation to win over people – and Council leaders. Look at the Labour and Plaid leaders who have been kicking up rather than arguing for 20mph. And those like the VoG, RCT and Swansea who’ve tried to sabotage it via ‘exceptions’ of the busiest urban roads. Communities that most need and want 20mph – as on the A48 at Ely Bridge in Cardiff and St Nicholas in the VoG – have had no support from… Read more »

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago
Reply to  max wallis

Most people are fine about the 20mph limit and those who are not will get used to it. By the time elections come around, only the Tories who would never vote Labour anyway will still be banging on about it, fighting against reality by continuing to insist that the limit was a blanket limit on all roads

Stallone
Stallone
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

No they are not!

Stallone
Stallone
7 months ago
Reply to  max wallis

True! Only 1000 people out of a 3million plus population were polled, and only 600 said they agreed with the 20mph limit. How were they selected and the questions structured? – The whole thing stinks!

oatmaster
oatmaster
7 months ago

It amazes me that people say they’ll support the Tories over this. They will hang the whole of Wales out to dry over a policy that, however badly they think it was implemented, will have minimal impact on their lives. They will spitefully hand over Wales to be carved up and run into the ground by a bunch of self-serving, avaricious thieves. “but it’s already been run into the ground”, they’ll cry! Trust me, it can be a hell of a lot worse than it is. Let the Tories in and see.

David Zenati-Parsons
David Zenati-Parsons
7 months ago

Well I am a lucky lad, I have an electric car and this policy saves me money and saves lives at the same time so I’m good.

Ap Kenneth
7 months ago

The longer 20mph is in place the more it is normalised in most drivers day to day activities and the less of a issue it becomes. Congestion is a bigger issue for journey times and is more difficult to deal with. But other issues, inflation, housing, standards of living will always trump such minor traffic issues.

Lynne
Lynne
7 months ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

Glad you think that it’s minor traffic issues. Welsh Labour hate the motorist as they have shown over the M4 debacle. How much money wasted on ignored recommendations. Spent millions for another review and ignored that too. The M4 end to end is a nightmare and local transport is no use when you work miles from where you live. Our NHS is on its knees and they chose to spend millions on new road signs which have already been vandalised. Targeted and enforced limits around schools parks etc would have more impact.. No more powers for the assembly as they… Read more »

Be
Be
7 months ago

Yes it will, we are sick of you all now

Simondc1711
Simondc1711
7 months ago

He is living in cloud cuckoo land. Like all dictators he believes he knows what is best for everyone else regardless if this is incorrect. This is only the first piece of legislation that this misguided dictator is trying to introduce at great cost to the welsh nation. The speed limit policy will increase costs across the board for businesses. To argue against this is illogical. If you deliver goods at set times across the day speed is an important component in your costs. A reduction of 10mph will result in you either pay your drivers for the extra time… Read more »

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
7 months ago

This action and all the others add up to Welsh Labour vote losses. Plaid who back them up will fall too. So, what is the alternative as Conservatives are as the Do-do too. I hope more Independent politicians come forward..please!

nik
nik
3 months ago

nik

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