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Liz Saville Roberts hits out at Labour over policing powers for Wales

26 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Liz Saville Roberts during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. Photo UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

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.

“No influence”

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.”

Devolution

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.”


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Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
30 days ago

Plaid has made very insufficient effort to reach out to people outside its heartlands. There is a schism between Plaid and the majority of Welsh people.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
30 days ago
Reply to  Rhddwen y Sais

Not sure about the schism (my ignorance!) but it is clear that if we do not vote tactically in every constituency the Tories will win by the back door again. Look at the new Ceredigion seat. We currently have in Ben Lake an exemplary MP from Plaid, but if Labour put in a great deal of money and effort to support their candidate they will split the anti-tory electorate will end up with an unwanted minority vote Tory MP. Surely this election, of all elections is the Tactical Election unless you feel that voting for ‘your’ party and getting a… Read more »

Steve Thomas
Steve Thomas
30 days ago

Wrong Jeff. Removing Tory MPs is a short term fix They will be back in power the election after next and people like you will be saying the same thing again. A total break from the status qou is the only way for Cymru. We have been in this position many times before

Annibendod
Annibendod
30 days ago
Reply to  Steve Thomas

Absolutely spot on. Only when we stop voting for unionists will we finally get the Tory UK monkey off our back.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
30 days ago

“Only a UK Labour government, working in lockstep with a Welsh Labour government…”  We have heard it before! I remember Peter Hain constantly patronising us with: “Labour in Westminster, Labour in Wales, working together for the people of Wales.” Well we have just endured 13 years of Tories in Westminster working against the people of Wales, and rolling back devolution when it suits them. The mathematics show that even if every constituency in Wales voted for Labour, the majority of MPs would be from English seats. Just cut the soundbites and get devolution completed – properly – so we… Read more »

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
30 days ago

Who is this unnamed Labour spokesperson who claims to know the views of Welsh people about Welsh devolution? With her focus virtually entirely on Wales since becoming an MP in 2015, my guess is that Liz Saville-Roberts is a lot more informed about the people of Wales than him/her. Why on earth should the Senedd not control these services when the governments of Scotland, England, the tiny Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland control theirs? Indeed, the only equitable and sensible way forward is to standardize devolution across the UK.     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                                                             

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
30 days ago

All we are saying is give Plaid a chance, all we are saying is give Plaid a chance…

RIP John Lennon

Annibendod
Annibendod
30 days ago

Spot on Liz. Wales has returned a Labour majority in every GE since 1922 yet been governed by the Tories for the majority of that time. Moreover, back then our GDP per capita matched the UK average. Since then, it has fallen behind, decade on decade, the gap opening up linearly without any deviation despite Welsh Labour “throwing the kitchen sink” at the economy (be a fine thing if they actually had). When will people learn that voting for British Nationalists/Imperialists ALWAYS leaves Wales worse off. Any vote for a Unionist party is another push of Cymru into the grave.… Read more »

Last edited 30 days ago by Annibendod

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