Jacob Rees-Mogg praises Welsh language as ‘beautiful’ and says he ‘very much values Welsh culture’
Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that his grandfather was a Welsh speaker, that he “very much values Welsh heritage and culture” and that it is “a beautiful language of great antiquity”.
Responding to a question about funding S4C, the Speaker of the House of Commons replied that he supported “its continued use as a daily language”.
His comments come after he was criticised for calling Welsh a “foreign language” and compared it to Latin in March of this year.
Back in March, he said whilst “modest quotation in foreign languages is permissible” it was “reasonable” not to allow “full speeches”. He added that “honourable members might occasionally use Latin quips and that is perfectly allowable”.
Today however he responded that Welsh “is unquestionably a beautiful language of great antiquity in this country”.
“My mother’s father was a Welsh speaker, so this is not the Rees bit of me but the Morris bit of me that very much values Welsh heritage and culture and, of course, its continued use as a daily language,” he said.
He was responding to a question by Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West, who called on the Culture Secretary to give an early statement providing clarity on the improved funding needed for the S4C.
“The Welsh language has been spoken on these islands, indeed on this island, since long before the English language arrived on our shores,” Kevin Brennan said.
“In fact, the Welsh epic poem Y Gododdin describes a battle in the 6th century between Anglo-Saxon invaders and Welsh-speaking warriors from the south of Scotland. The battle took place in modern-day Yorkshire.
“Does the Leader of the House agree that we should have an early statement from the Culture Secretary to give clarity on the improved funding needed for the Welsh language broadcaster S4C so that it can help to ensure that Welsh, spoken daily by half a million people in the UK, continues to survive and thrive in the digital age?”
After praising the Welsh language, Jacob Rees Mogg responded that “it may be better for the Welsh Government to take up these matters, because it is for them to promote the Welsh language, though I am aware that S4C is in a slightly different category”.
Welsh culture is devolved to the Welsh Government, but funding decisions for S4C come from the UK Government.