‘I don’t totally disagree with the devolution concept’, says Welsh Secretary
The Welsh Secretary has said that the does not “totally disagree with the devolution concept.”
However, Simon Hart has challenged the idea that Wales’ democratically elected First Minister, Mark Drakeford, should have more of a say over Welsh laws.
In an interview with Theo Davies-Lewis for The National, in which he criticised the Welsh Government, he said: “The mistake they’re making, I repeat it, is assuming that home rule means Mark Drakeford’s rule.”
Hart has defended the UK Government’s move to take away powers over funding from the Senedd and the Welsh Government and centralise them in London. He also denied that this was “stealing” powers from Wales, saying it was “profoundly wrong”.
According to the Welsh Secretary people are “going to see a much more active UK Government in Wales than you’ve ever seen before… I believe that not only to be the case but also to be right”.
In order to justify Westminster bypassing the Senedd, he pointed to the Oxford English Dictionary definition of devolution.
He said: “If you look up the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘devolution’ will tell you that it’s decision making at the nearest point to those who it affects. For us, that’s local authorities. It’s quite interesting. ‘This is devolution on my terms,’ Mark Drakeford would say. And: ‘I want to be a unionist but on my terms’. I’m saying: nuh-uh.”
He added: “There has been too much emphasis in public debate on the union being just an argument about money. And I think it’s very easy to misinterpret that.
“It’s very easy… to create a narrative which almost looks like it’s an uneven partnership, whereas in reality the union is much more of an emotive argument. It’s much more of a cultural argument and cultural discussion.”