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First Minister ‘needs Westminster’ claims Tory MP

10 Mar 2021 2 minute read
Fay Jones MP (CC 3.0) by Richard Townshend

The First Minister of Wales “needs Westminster”, a Tory MP has claimed.

Fay Jones, who represents Brecon and Radnorshire in Westminster, accused Mark Drakeford of making a “wild-eyed declaration” that the “union is dead”, and suggested he needed the UK Government to deal with pollution of the River Wye.

Power over legislation in this area is devolved to the Senedd, but the Conservative MP believes Wales’ democratically elected parliament should be bypassed and overruled.

She has suggested that the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which is responsible for England, should intervene in Wales.

The MP also dismissed accusations of an “assault on devolution” by the UK Government as “wild”, while calling for the devolved Welsh Government to be overruled.

‘Fall to Defra’ 

She wrote in The Times: “With Welsh Labour setting its face against rural Wales, it will fall to Defra and the UK government to sort out the Welsh Government’s mess.

“Recognising the importance of the river to communities in Wales and England, ministers in Defra will bring all parties together and hammer out a way forward, perhaps using instruments like the Shared Prosperity Fund or the Marches Growth Deal.

“Westminster stepping in won’t cause the almighty ding-dong similar to the one we saw with the UK Internal Market Bill.

“You won’t hear any wild claims of ‘an assault on devolution’ or dark threats of legal action.

“The First Minister can show as much leg to the nationalists as he wants — but he knows he needs Westminster to do the work that Welsh Labour simply is unprepared to do.

“Personally, I don’t care who cleans up the Wye. It needs sorting urgently as the impact that it is having on my constituents is too great.

“But it does demonstrate why rural Wales needs the Union. So long as Welsh Labour chokes Wales with a south-centric, urban focus, problems like the River Wye will never be solved.”

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