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Drakeford seeking legal advice on Wales’ power to hold independence referendum after Scottish judgement

30 Nov 2022 3 minute read
First minister of Wales Mark Drakeford during the Labour Party Conference at the ACC Liverpool. Picture by Peter Byrne / PA

The First Minister has said that his government is seeking legal advice on what impact the Supreme Court’s judgement to deny the Scottish Parliament the power to hold a referendum will have on Wales.

The UK Supreme Court unanimously decided last week that the Scottish Government does not have the power to call an independence referendum.

The case could set a future precedent for the rest of the UK, including whether the Welsh Parliament could decide to call an independence referendum.

Speaking in the Senedd, Mark Drakeford said that the Welsh Government were looking into whether or not the Welsh settlement offers a different route to holding a referendum than the one tested by the Scottish Government in the courts.

“We are studying the judgment and we are making sure that we get advice in the round as to where that judgment impinges on the responsibilities and possibilities of the Senedd,” he said.

He was responding to a question from Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, who asked him whether there was more wiggle room within Wales’ devolution settlement to hold a referendum than there was in Scotland.

Mark Drakeford replied: “I don’t know enough to be sure that I can answer the leader of Plaid Cymru’s question in all its detail.

“I have a suspicion that it will not be quite as straightforward as he might think—that what the court in the Scottish case tested was whether, in exercising functions, the Scottish Parliament would be within the ambit of its own devolved responsibilities, and I imagine that the same test would apply to our powers as well, even through secondary legislation and even if you attempted to frame it within that very broad ambit of responsibility for the well-being of people here in Wales.

“But, as the Counsel General said, we are taking detailed advice on the relationship between the Scottish question, as tested in the Supreme Court, and the powers that we have here in Wales, and I’ll make sure that the point raised by the leader of Plaid Cymru this afternoon is tested in that advice.”

‘Timing’

Mark Drakeford also questioned the First Minister on whether his view that Scotland should be free to hold an independence referendum had changed after the Supreme Court ruling.

“You’ve said previously that the United Kingdom should now be seen as a voluntary association of nations,” Adam Price said.

“Do you agree with your counterpart in Scotland that last week’s judgment means that the United Kingdom is not currently, at least, a voluntary partnership, when Westminster not just possesses a legal veto on self-determination but is politically determined, it seems, to using it?”

Mark Drakeford said that his own view had not changed.

“Matters in Scotland are matters for the Scottish Labour Party and for the leader of the party to navigate. I hear what the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland says, which is that a referendum is a matter of timing and, quite certainly in the view of the Scottish Labour Party, now is not the moment when people in Scotland have their minds focused on constitutional matters when they have a winter of the sort that they see stretching out in front of them,” he said.


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Vengeful revenant of y Tywysog Lloegr
Vengeful revenant of y Tywysog Lloegr
2 months ago

Well that’s pretty pointless. A Yoon puppet politely enquiring if England will “let us” have an Indy vote that
a) Our jailers have already denied us
b) He would never hold anyway. Neither his Yoon party in Cymru or his Yoon party in Mordor

CJPh
CJPh
2 months ago

Indeed. A gesture to court plaid voters in a time of crisis, maybe? Also, do me a favour, pal – will you take the “y” out of your new username please? (yes, I straighten crookedly hung paintings. Even in galleries…)

Vengeful revenant of Tywysog Lloegr
Vengeful revenant of Tywysog Lloegr
2 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

Ah go on then. I understand that brain itch.
As a very limited speaker of Cymraeg it was accidental ignorance initially. But then someone was being patronising about it so I kept it just to annoy him. Apologies to yourself and the friendlier Welsh speakers if it bugged.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 months ago

When we eventually reach that bridge (which even “Welsh” Labour seems to be conceding that we will at some point), it is important to know what our legal “options” are. We must be shown to be trying to cooperate with the UK Government when the time comes and show we have tried to do everything “above board”, so when we do eventually leave, we can point to Westminster’s obstructionism in preventing us from exercising our legal and democratic rights. Exploring this path will also likely gain more support, as polls in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision in Scotland… Read more »

David
David
2 months ago

This is a route that Scotland could take. It could also be a route for Cymru to take. https://wingsoverscotland.com/how-you-do-it/

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
2 months ago

Go to the United Nations!

Riki
Riki
2 months ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

Anyone else would have, but We in Wales…What the Englishman says, goes.

Riki
Riki
2 months ago

Ofcourse one would assume inward looking, it’s in order to safeguard the future of Wales’ existence. But seeing how we know these Sellouts. It’s clear designed to safeguards England dominance over the Island and the Worlds current perception of it.

john francis patrick O'Donoghue
john francis patrick O'Donoghue
1 month ago

“Mark Drakeford also questioned the First Minister” … Talking to himself, was he?

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
1 month ago

How much will the initial feasibility report cost ? Who pays for it ? Do we have our own currency or will it be the Euro ? I am all for it subject to the following additional questions…. Do you want the Welsh Government cancelled or not ? Do you want additional assembly members created as requested by the Welsh Government ? Do you want a third vehicle bridge across the Menai Straits. Work to start within 18 months ? The empty Welsh Assembly buildings in North Wales at Colwyn Bay and Llandudno Junction turned in to social accommodation ….not… Read more »

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