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Labour structure too London-centric says Wales’ Constitution Minister

09 Sep 2021 3 minute read

Labour’s structure is still “too London-centric” and needs to be federalised, according to Wales’ Minister for the Constitution.

Senedd Member Mick Antoniw was speaking at an event Labour and Radical Federalism organised by LabourList and UK in a Changing Europe.

He contrasted Labour UK with Welsh Labour’s “identity and branding” which led to electoral success at May’s Senedd election.

“In terms of the relationship and the identity of Welsh Labour I think that the problem there is a there is an issue with the UK Lab party as a whole,” he said.

“In terms of it is still very much based I think on a sort of post-second world war fairly centralistic and fairly London-centric structure and I think that is something that does need to be explored.

“The fact that the mayors are not represented on the national executive committee despite the fact that they are forms of local government.

“What I do think is that the Welsh Labour party structure and probably even regionally as well should not be less than what we are arguing should be the constitutional structure of the UK.

“So we’re arguing for more the decentralized UK, we’re arguing for more federalized UK structure and I think the structure of the party has to equally reflect those changes.

“And I think for example for within Wales I think that means even looking at a federalised Labour party structure as well.”


Mick Antoniw said that part of the problem in the UK was that there was “a centralising UK Government” that didn’t recognise that sovereignty was spread between the different parts.

However, he said that people shouldn’t get too “hung up” on what the alternative of radical federalism meant because “federalism, independence, and so on, they mean different things to different people”.

“For me what radical federalism means is firstly a UK which is based on a shared sovereignty – a voluntary association of nations with common interests,” he said.

“It is based on the issue of subsidiarity – that is we want decision making to be taken as close to people and communities as possible.

“But we do recognize that there is those areas where there is common interdependence between nations and those are the areas which really is where the need for common governance actually exists.

“Also the common raising of funds and resources in order for equality and redistribution of purpose.

“And ultimately is based on a shared but voluntary sovereignty shared between the four nations.

“For me, those are what the underlying principles are and for me, those are also the principles that it is absolutely fundamental that UK Labour buys into now because they are the starting point for reform.”

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Phil Jones
Phil Jones
2 years ago

How do you define a voluntary association of nations when the unionist labour party don’t really recognise Cymru as a nation in the first place? We are a colony, not a voluntary associate.

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
2 years ago

“For me what radical federalism means is firstly a UK which is based on a shared sovereignty – a voluntary association of nations with common interests”. It is presumptuous in the extreme for federalists/unionists like Mick Antoniw to determine that Welsh sovereignty is subsidiary to a ‘shared’ sovereignty when we have not yet achieved independence. Once we have, we will make the choices thanks, not be forced prematurely into limited and constricting ones. There are over 200 countries in the world. Why should we continue to preoccupy ourselves with our relationship with one – a much larger one and often… Read more »

Andrew Murphy
Andrew Murphy
2 years ago

Every time I read something from Labour in Wales about the future of the UK I cringe, they’re like the lost boys in Peter Pan knowing they’re totally ignored but still wanting to be loved.  The UK Unionist labour partydoesn’t give a monkeys for what its Welsh branch thinks or for people who livein wales. Outside of Wales no one in Labour mentions federalism, let alone radical federalism “What ever that is” and quite clearly having floated the idea to take the sting out of the rise in support for independence even Mick Antoniw doesn’t know now.  When Labour in… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
2 years ago

I agree. The UK system IS too centralized. It needs a federal system similar to the system operating in Germany and the EU now. And, if the UK regime / English reject this ? The only action the Welsh government & people can then do is to demand Independence from the UK regime. Otherwise, there is no incentive for the UK regime to consider our request. The question is: Is there any change in politics in England ? The 2019 UK GE was a watershed – The pro-federalist Liberal democrats increased their vote in England. Well, Chesham & Amersham by-election… Read more »

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