The Leaders of Plaid Cymru and the SNP have said that independence for Wales and Scotland is now the “only way” to resist ensure their democracy is protected.
They were responding to the publication of the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill, which aims to create a new “internal market” within Scotland, England Wales and Northern Ireland.
Plaid and the SNP argue that new spending rules contained in the Bill will allow the UK Government to force projects in devolved areas such as economic development, infrastructure, culture, sport and education.
They would be able to do so without the consent of the Welsh and Scottish Government – an explicit dismantling of the devolution settlement, the SNP and Plaid Cymru said.
“Two referendums will be ignored and the will of the Welsh people overturned if this law is passed,” Adam Price said.
“Independence is the only way we can protect Welsh democracy. Without a pro-independence government in Cardiff, Westminster will continue to bully Wales.
“Labour has done nothing to protect our Senedd and now all they seem to offer is more warm words about devolution. They have sat on their hands as Westminster’s slow drip erosion of devolution has turned into a tsunami that risks washing the whole thing away.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also spoke out on Wednesday morning, insisting that “the internal market bill that the UK government will publish today is a full-frontal assault on devolution.”
She added that “independence [is] the only way to protect the Scottish parliament from being undermined and its powers eroded”.
The Welsh Labour Government in Wales have also condemned the changes, saying that they are “an attack on democracy” which will “sacrifice the future of the union by stealing powers from devolved administrations”.
Holyrood’s Brexit secretary, Mike Russell, has already pledged the Scottish government will not consent to the bill, while Miles said his administration would “do everything we can to challenge the power grab and the race to the bottom which this bill represents”.
However, the UK Government’s Scottish Secretary Alister Jack denied that the Internal Market Bill would water down devolution.
“Absolutely not, we’re strengthening devolution,” he said. “We are bringing a power surge to Scotland, more than 100 new powers, we’re not taking a single power away and I’d invite the honourable lady to name one that we are.”