First Minister: Westminster’s focus on London stagnating Wales’ economy

Picture by Carwyn Jones @FMWales on Twitter.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has attacked Westminster’s focus on London and South-East England, saying that it has led to a stagnation of the Welsh economy.

In a speech at the debating society Oxford Union, he said that it “threatens our democracy and deepens division in society, fuelling resentment and the worst kind of populism”.

“This isn’t a party-political issue,” he said. “This is an institutional problem. A huge, long-term cultural issue. In many ways, a natural bias that impacts cities around the globe.

“The answer? An extension of trust and respect from the centre to communities. A recalibration of our economy and a revolution in the way our country is governed.”

The Union was debating the motion ‘This house believes Westminster’s concerns do not extend beyond the Home Counties’ in 10 minutes.

Sir Bob Kerslake, Chair of Peabody and Be First and a member of the House of Lords, Monmouth MP David Davies, and Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine, also spoke at the debate.

The First Minister called for an “equal Britain of partners” but some on social media suggested that he was making the case for independence.

Pro-independence group Yes Cymru said: “You’re right, the system is entrenched and has been for centuries.

“Westminster rule and Westminsterism (personal careers, glory and money) has been to detriment of Wales.

“The answer is independence for Wales. Independence will make interdependence work for Wales.”

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