A former Welsh Secretary has said that he is ‘thankful’ that the Welsh Government has less influence on Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Alun Cairns MP was responding to the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford, after he said that he hadn’t had much success in influencing the actions of the UK Government.
According to Mr Drakeford “the voice in Wales” has less influence with Boris Johnson’s administration than it did with his predecessor, Theresa May.
Allun Cairns responded: “I think they mean Welsh Gov, not Wales. They are different. The reason is that the First Minister played his hand so poorly – thankfully. Wales will gain far more as a result.”
I think they mean Welsh Gov, not Wales. They are different. The reason is that the @fmwales played his hand so poorly – thankfully. Wales will gain far more as a result.
— Alun Cairns (@AlunCairns) December 27, 2020
His comments on social media attracted criticism from other commentators.
Rob Simkins replied: “Thankfully? They’re the democratically elected government of Wales. What’s thankful about them having less influence at the UK level while your shambles party pulls the Union apart at its seams?”
Mark Drakeford told the BBC Radio Cymru show Beti a’i Phobol: “I don’t think our voice in Wales has a lot of influence on Mr Johnson.
He said that he used to meet with UK Government ministers every week when Theresa May was Prime Minister but that contact had dried up under Boris Johnson.
“When Mrs May was prime minister – of course her situation was very different and she didn’t have a majority in the House of Commons – and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons why she was prepared to listen to others,” Mark Drakeford said.
“But during the period when she was prime minister, we came together, almost every week, with UK ministers – us, Scotland’s first minister and so on. The relationship was closer.
“After Mr Johnson became prime minister, that changed. He has a majority and can do as he likes in the House of Commons, without listening to anyone else.”
Mr Drakeford said that “in the long term” the lack of communication between Mr Johnson and the four nations would not be “a successful way forward”.
“I think the UK’s prime minister has a responsibility to listen and to collaborate and to see what can be agreed by the four governments of the United Kingdom.
“I don’t want to see Scotland disappearing from the United Kingdom. If Scotland decides to take its own path – it’s different in Northern Ireland – we’ll have to rethink about our relationship with England – and will need to consider the arrangements and the options.”