Liz Saville Roberts hits out at Labour over policing powers for Wales
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts has urged Welsh Labour voters to consider “giving Plaid Cymru a chance” after suggesting that UK Labour will not change its mind on policing powers for Wales.
The outgoing First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, said on Thursday (25 January) that Labour should not play “King Canute” with devolved powers, after the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Jo Stevens, rejected a Welsh Government-commissioned report which called for the devolution of policing and justice days after its publication.
Ms Saville Roberts said that the fact a “longstanding Welsh Government position” was discarded by Ms Stevens without consultation, showed that “Welsh Labour has had no influence over its own party’s policy on a UK level”, and suggested “Keir Starmer isn’t going to start listening now”.
She said that only Plaid Cymru would “stand up for Welsh interests and force the next Prime Minister to care about our communities”.
The devolution of justice and policing in Wales has been a long held ambition of Mark Drakeford. Ms Stevens’ comments revealed a difference of opinion in Labour over what the future of the Welsh Government should look like.
Ms Saville Roberts said: “UK Labour rubbished a landmark constitutional report calling for the devolution of policing before the ink had dried, discarding a longstanding Welsh Government position without consultation.
“Welsh Labour has had no influence over its own party’s policy on a UK level – Keir Starmer isn’t going to start listening now.
“The First Minister rightly points out that those working on the ground can see that the current framework is failing the people of Wales.
“Devolution of policing is vital if we want to create a safer society by aligning health and social policy with policing and justice. It is a matter of deep frustration that Keir Starmer and Jo Stevens have decided they know better.
“It is likely that Keir Starmer will soon have the keys to Downing Street and Labour MPs from Wales will be queuing up for a ministerial job. Plaid Cymru is the only party that will stand up for Welsh interests and force the next Prime Minister to care about our communities. I would encourage Welsh Labour supporters who value Welsh powers to give Plaid Cymru a chance.”
A Labour Spokesperson said: “Labour is the party of devolution and we are committed to reinforcing the status of the Senedd, strengthening intergovernmental working and pushing power out of Westminster and into the hands of communities.
“After 14 years of the Tories our communities are enduring a failing economy, crimes going unsolved and stretched public services. Only a UK Labour government, working in lockstep with a Welsh Labour government, can deliver the change Britain is crying out for.
“Labour will continue to set out policies that make a real difference to people’s lives. Liz does not understand the day-to-day priorities of people in Wales.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.