Ex-Welsh Secretary claims EU wants to ‘break up England’ while keeping Wales ‘whole’
A former Secretary of State for Wales has claimed that the EU wants to “break up” England while keeping Welsh devolution “whole”.
John Redwood, the Tory MP for Wokingham in Berkshire, hit out at the idea of regional devolution for England in response to comments by the Archbishop of York, who wants a “more developed and strengthened regional government within” the country.
Writing in the Telegraph, Stephen Cottrell said many people in England feel left behind by “metropolitan elites in London and the South East”, are “patronised as backwardly xenophobic”, and he called for “an expansive vision of what it means to be English”.
In his article, the Archbishop also called for Wales to sing God Save the Queen before international sports games.
He suggested that when the different nations of the UK play each other in sporting contests that they “belt out our individual anthems” before they “sing our national anthem together”.
In response to the article Redwood accused the Church of England of adopting “fashionable global and EU tropes” and claimed that it has “taken the Anglican Church long soaked in the views of the international elite an age to discover the cause of England”.
He wrote on his blog: “Despite carrying our country’s name in its own the C of E has regularly adopted fashionable global and EU tropes that are unwelcome to many in a doughty independent island country with global reach and ambition.
“The Archbishop is by inference attacking the Lambeth Palace and Brussels oriented views of recent Archbishops of Canterbury by remembering his own Northern roots.”
“He then reveals he too lacks understanding of how Englishmen and women feel by recommending we get another dose of regional devolution within England.
“So like the EU elite he wants to break up and balkanise England whilst leaving Scottish and Welsh devolution whole at the country level.
“The whole point about the English case is we wish to have for England some of the same devolved rights that Scotland enjoys.
“I proposed to David Cameron that we gave England EVEN, English votes for English needs, in the Commons.
“Instead of setting up a costly new English Parliament with extra MPs and a new building, why not let UK MPs elected to Westminster carry the dual mandate and meet as a Grand Committee at Westminster for any legislation or budgetary review matters that would mirror those powers devolved to Scotland or Wales.
“Mr Cameron on advice from Mr Hague watered that down to an English veto on English laws, with no right to initiate an English proposal for English MPs. Now Mr Gove has removed even that.
“Meanwhile we need a BBC that gives equal billing to England as to Scotland. Why is there no BBC England?
“We need an anthem for English teams that we know and want to sing, and a better and more sympathetic presentation of English history, literature and culture by English and UK institutions.”