‘Erasing Welsh nationhood’: Boris Johnson criticised over ‘one country’ push at G7 summit
A Plaid Cymru MP has criticised Boris Johnson after he pushed for the UK to be recognised as “one country” at the G7 summit.
The Prime Minister had reportedly told diplomats to refer to the UK as one country rather than four nations.
He also hit out at European leaders for failing to agree that the UK is “a single country” in talks with President Macron of France.
Dwyfor-Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville-Roberts said that the Prime Minister’s claim that the UK was one country amounted to a bid to “erase Welsh nationhood”.
Her comments came as the Prime Minister and President Macron clashed at the G7 summit. They are alleged to have fallen out over the Northern Ireland protocol which prevents processed meat, such as sausages, from being sent to the province from Britain after the end of the month.
“How would you like it if the French courts stopped you moving Toulouse sausages to Paris?” Johnson said.
The French president claimed that it was “not a good comparison because Paris and Toulouse are part of the same country”, according to a UK government source.
Boris Johnson later told Sky News: “I’ve talked to some of our friends here today, who do seem to misunderstand that the UK is a single country, a single territory. I just need to get that into their heads.”
The French President’s office later said that Macron had merely been pointing out that mainland Britain and Northern Ireland were on two different islands, after Mr Johnson asked him whether he would accept a ban on movements of sausages between Toulouse and Paris.
In an article for the Sunday Times, Liz Saville-Roberts added that world leaders “should be wary of taking bombastic lectures” from Boris Johnson until he starts leading by example.
She was responding to an article written by the Prime Minister in The Times on Thursday 10 June in which he wrote that “the G7 summit is a chance to show the world our values: openness, freedom, democracy”.
“According to the Prime Minister, the G7 summit is a chance to show the world our values: ‘openness, freedom, democracy’. But for Mr Johnson to have any credibility, he must start at home,” she wrote.
“His government and party are doing anything but demonstrate the UK’s openness or respect for individual freedom, with the Home Secretary threatening to use force against desperate migrants, EU nationals detained and fingerprinted on arrival and asylum seekers housed in uninhabitable barracks.
“It is fair to say that Boris Johnson is hardly known for his respect for democracy either. From illegally dismissing parliament to avoid scrutiny, to his government breaking the law by awarding contracts to their friends, democratic values are shown scant respect in Westminster. Tory donors are being ennobled to take their place in an unelected second chamber, while taxpayers’ money is funnelled to affluent Tory seats in the name of ‘levelling up’.”
She added: “Put simply, the international community should be wary of taking bombastic lectures from a Prime Minister who has spent the last few years undermining our vaunted, alleged values at every turn.”