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Drakeford to call for a Wales that ‘takes ownership of its own destiny’ in conference speech

26 Feb 2021 2 minute read
First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Mark Drakeford will call for Wales to take on powers that will give it “ownership of its own destiny” in a conference speech today.

In his most radical speech yet he will say that Wales should have “home rule” within the United Kingdom.

“We need a more powerful devolution settlement,” he will say at Welsh Labour’s Spring Forward event.

“One in which we secure home rule for Wales – in a successful United Kingdom. Internationalist, not nationalist. Outward facing, not inward looking.

“Yes for Wales, of course – that’s what I have been throughout my whole life – but Yes to a Wales that takes ownership of its own destiny alongside working people in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland who share our progressive values.

“Yes to a Wales which has the confidence of knowing that we are at our best when we break down barriers, not build them up; where we create our future alongside others, not despite or against them.”

His call comes after a poll in September shows that a majority of those who voted Labour at the 2019 General Election would back Welsh independence if a referendum was held tomorrow.

The YouGov poll suggested that with the figures adjusted to remove those who refused to answer, didn’t know or said that they wouldn’t vote, 51% of respondents who voted for Labour said they would vote for Welsh independence with 49% against.

YesCymru commented: “Lovely to see Mark Drakeford shifting his position. What an impact YesCymru is having.”

‘Sole focus’

The Welsh Conservatives however told WalesOnline that the First Minister’s priorities were “all wrong”.

“The First Minister is a man without a plan and at a time when families, workers and businesses are crying out for a roadmap out of lockdown, his priority is pandering to the separatists and undermining Britain,” leader Andrew RT Davies said.

“Labour’s sole focus should be on protecting people’s jobs and rebuilding the Welsh economy but as we have seen so many times over the past twenty years all they will do is take Wales backwards.”

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