Leanne Wood: ‘Seeing Labour as a vehicle for independence is delusional’
It is “delusional” to see the Labour Party as a “vehicle for independence”, Leanne Wood has claimed.
The former Plaid Cymru leader, who used to be the MS for Rhondda, has said Labour’s MPs in Westminster would “block on any kind of constitutional development”.
In a frank interview with Aaron Bastani for Novara Media, she said that she does not believe Labour will deliver a federal UK either, arguing “we need to look outside the Labour party in terms of devolution”.
She pointed to a meeting in 2014 with Owen Smith, who was Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Wales at that time.
According to Wood, in that meeting Smith sided “with the Tories in opposing the devolution of policing”.
Leanne Wood said: “I don’t believe there’s anything about Labour in Wales, or its strategy, or its talk about a federated UK, that would be delivered.
On Labour’s MPs from Wales she said: “Everything I’ve seen would indicate they would put a block on any kind of constitutional development. That’s what has happened all the way along.”
On the meeting with Owen Smith, she said: “I was in the room when he was siding with the Tories in opposing the devolution of policing. I have no faith in them. I know the MPs from Wales and I know how unionist some of them are. Mark Drakeford can say what he likes, but it will never be delivered.
“Seeing Labour as a vehicle for independence is delusional really.”
She added: “Labour politicians in Cardiff are different to those in Westminster, that is clear from the rhetoric […] but in order to get constitutional change, there has to be a Labour government at Westminster that wants it, and the MPs from Wales have to be on board.”
“How are we going to see any movement unless the leader of the UK party is persuaded by it,” Wood argues. “It’s just not going to happen.
“So we need to look outside the Labour party in terms of devolution. That’s why I think there was a missed opportunity [in the May elections] to support independence-supporting candidates by the movement.
“Labour has done a good job of making a constitutional offer that sounds attractive. My concern is that the offer hasn’t had sufficient scrutiny and doesn’t stack up.
“This is a debate we need to have, not just within the independence movement, but more widely with the Welsh public.”