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Drakeford slams ‘aggressively unilateralist’ UK Gov and sets out plan to save the union

29 Jun 2021 4 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford. Picture by Doubledoppler (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The First Minister has slammed the “aggressively unilateralist” UK Government, and set out a plan to save the union.

Today he will outline an updated 20-point blueprint, which he says would make the United Kingdom stronger and work better for everyone.

But he warned that the union has “never been this fragile” and added that if “matters continue in their current vein the case for the break-up of the UK will only increase”.

The plan – Reforming Our Union – has been updated following the Senedd and Scottish Parliament elections in May and the trade agreement signed by the UK and the European Union.

Mark Drakeford said relationships within the UK need to be reset because “too often we see the UK Government act in an aggressively unilateralist way.”

He believes for the UK to thrive, the union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must be based on a partnership of equals, with regular opportunities for the four governments to work together and manage disputes properly.

The First Minister said: “Wales’ future is best served by having strong devolution – so decisions about Wales are made in Wales – and by being an equal partner in a strong and revitalised United Kingdom.

“For this to happen, the way the Union works must change. And the need for change is urgent – the Union has never been this fragile. If matters continue in their current vein the case for the break-up of the UK will only increase.

“Too often we see the UK Government act in an aggressively unilateral way, claiming to act on behalf of the whole UK, but without regard for the status of the nations and the democratic mandates of their government.

“We see muscular unionism, instead of working towards a genuinely constructive and collaborative relationship between the governments of the UK.

“It’s time for relationships to be reset. The principles and ways of working we have outlined would lead to the strong and durable Union – a Union which we believe would deliver the best outcomes for the people of Wales and the wider United Kingdom.”

‘Reforming’

Reforming Our Union was first published in October 2019, as the UK was preparing to leave the European Union. It has been updated to reflect the changed constitutional and political circumstances which affect Wales and the rest of the UK.

It proposes 20 ideas about how the UK can be made stronger and be made to work for the good of everyone living in the United Kingdom.

These range from reforming the House of Lords to reflect the make-up of the United Kingdom, including giving the upper house the specific job of protecting the constitution and devolution, to creating a new, independent public body to oversee how funding arrangements are made in the UK, instead of the UK Government.

It also proposes the devolution of justice and policing to Wales – as it already is to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Welsh Government has announced it will set up an independent commission to consider the constitutional future of Wales. This will look at the reforms needed to empower and benefit Wales, increasing prosperity and improving quality of life and wellbeing.

‘Stimulating’ 

Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for Constitution, said: “Reforming Our Union sets out a positive case for change and we hope it will stimulate wider debate about the future of Wales and the future of the UK.

“Constitutional reform is a necessity. The framework within which decisions are made has a direct impact on the services we access and communities we live in. Getting this framework right is essential as we work to create a stronger, greener, fairer Wales.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible as we start a national conversation about our future in Wales and our future relationships with the rest of the UK.”

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Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago

Our “future relationship” with the UK should be as a friendly but independent neighbour.

Grace
Grace
3 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

I would agree with you under other circumstances but I asked a Welsh man the other day if he thought Wales should be independent and his view was that Wales wouldn’t survive now because she has been so seriously underfunded for too long. I’m not Welsh but I’ve moved to live in Wales because I’ve longed to live here since I was a child aged 9 and first visited Wales with my Dad. Wales is a beautiful country with so much to offer and I don’t just mean as a holiday resort. If I won the lottery tomorrow I would… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago
Reply to  Grace

That’s a nice sentiment Grace. I think that having arrived with such a positive attitude you are entitled to identify as Welsh. As for the misguided gentleman you spoke to, I wonder what future he proposes for our country? More of the same abuse and neglect seems to be his cure for abuse and neglect! Anyway croeso, it’s good to have you.

Bruce
Bruce
3 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

Unfortunately many Welsh people lack the confidence to support independence, it comes from over 600 years of being ruled by another country.

Erisian
Erisian
3 months ago

It’s too late for that Mark. Wake up and smell the coffee. Do you want to be remembered as Mark Drayford the appeaser?

CapM
CapM
3 months ago

 ‘Reforming Our Union’ – should be titled
Rearranging Our Deckchairs – Deck hand Drakeford’s blueprint for changing the course of HMS Titanic.
 

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

Why save UKBIN? It’s like the Panda. It doesn’t want to be saved. England hates the other nations and the sentiment is largely returned. Let it die. Let the real nations amicably separate and go our own ways, each with the right to self-governance And let this failed One Nation experiment be consigned to history

Last edited 3 months ago by Chris
Ken covack
Ken covack
3 months ago

Westminster will never give Wales more autonomy, or tax-raising powers, this would mean a great loss to the coffers of ENGLALAND. We must have independence or we will continue the next 500 years as the holiday playground and an annexed nation of subservient people!

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 months ago

All this reforming the UK sounds grand and noble but it would only work if Westminster agrees to it and we know the present Tory government will not. There is more chance of hell freezing over than the Tories relinquishing one speck of control. Why waste time and see Cymru get even poorer as a result – seek independence now and stop pussy-footing around!

Last edited 3 months ago by Steve Duggan

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