Drakeford won’t ‘ever’ support independence but wants ‘decisions that affect only Wales taken in Wales’
Mark Drakeford has said that he won’t “ever believe” that independence is the right course of action for Wales but that he wants “decisions that affect only people in Wales taken only by people in Wales”.
Speaking on RTE radio he was asked whether Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were heading towards a breakup of the United Kingdom.
He said that while he hoped that wasn’t the case, but he wanted to see a change of attitude from the UK Government towards the union to prevent it from happening.
“I certainly hope not,” he said. “You know, I’m firmly a believer in powerful and entrenched devolution where decisions that affect only people in Wales are taken only by people in Wales
“But also that the United Kingdom benefits and Wales benefits from us being part of one another.
“So I don’t myself ever believe that independence is the right course of action for Wales. And I hope that we can fashion between us a compelling case for a successful United Kingdom and an United Kingdom that people in all parts of the United Kingdom would choose to belong to.
“They would see the case for it, they’d see the benefits that they get for it, but we have to work hard to assemble that case and to make sure that it’s compelling enough to persuade our fellow citizens, but that’s where they wanted to see their futures.”
He added that the main barrier to a successful union at the moment was the treatment of devolved nations by the UK Government, and reinforced that Prime Minister Liz Truss still hadn’t contacted him for a discussion.
“I don’t think I’ve said anything, actually about the new Prime Minister, and certainly nothing like members of her own party has had to say,” he said.
“It’s disappointing that the Prime Minister chooses to talk about the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland rather than to the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland. I look forward to the time when she feels she has a moment to pick up the phone and be in touch.
“Boris Johnson phoned me and I know he phoned the former First Minister of Scotland on the day that he became Prime Minister. I know that Mrs. May before him has done the same.
“So it is a bit of a conspicuous difference this time, but as soon as the Prime Minister is able to, to reach out to to talk to us in Wales, we’ll be very pleased to hear from her.”
He added: “She has appointed herself the Minister for the Union. And that’s an important title and one that I look forward to her demonstrating that it’s more than a title but it’s a determination to live up to that.
“But the case for the United Kingdom is that it is a voluntary association of nations in which the Four Nations choose to pool our sovereignty together to discharge common functions.
“And that sort of the United Kingdom, I think will appeal to people in Wales and beyond Wales.
“And I look forward when there is an opportunity to working with a Prime Minister on exactly that prospectus.”
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