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Mark Drakeford admits he can’t promise a federal UK to Welsh voters

28 Jan 2021 3 minutes Read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) in a speech broadcast on BBC One. Mark Drakeford (right), picture by the Welsh Government.

Mark Drakeford has admitted that he is unable to promise a federal UK to Welsh voters.

The First Minister made the admission on the S4C politics show Y Byd yn ei Le, where he insisted that the future for Wales wasn’t a choice between the status quo and independence.

Mr Drakeford told interviewer Guto Harri that he wants the union to be remade into a federal state, which would include turning the unelected House of Lords into a senate for the nations and regions of the UK.

But when he was pressed on the issue, he conceded that he can’t promise it at the election because the only way that kind of system will come into being is if the government in Westminster offers it. He also said that he doesn’t believe Boris Johnson is open to the idea.

Mr Drakeford said: “That’s not the impression that I get. The impression that I get from Boris Johnson is that he wants to take the United Kingdom back to where we were back in the 1970s before the European Union.”

Guto Harri said: “You can’t promise that to people as an answer in the Welsh election because the only way that system will come into being is if the government in Westminster offers it.”

Mr Drakeford replied: “Of course, what we can say in this election is this is what we’re going to try to achieve within the context, a context that is changing almost every week.”

‘Choice’ 

He added: “The choice isn’t between where we are now and independence. There is more than one choice to make.

“What I want to see is secure devolution on a solid foundation as well, in a United Kingdom that has been remade after 20 years now of devolution, and the experiences of coronavirus as well.

“The United Kingdom cannot carry on like it is today. We’ll have to recreate the United Kingdom in a successful way, with a place for Wales in the successful United Kingdom, but with strong powers with us here on a strong foundation.

“After two decades now of devolution we can see that there are four governments and four Senedds across the United Kingdom with independent powers to make decisions that are appropriate for people here in Wales.

“But also, in my opinion, there are a number of big things where it is better for us to cooperate with each other when we want to do that.

“We’ve had that idea for years to remake the House of Lords, to put the House of Lords in a place where people from every part of the United Kingdom, regional in England, national in Wales and in Scotland and to create a new one that reflects the United Kingdom that we have today, not the United Kingdom we had centuries ago now.”

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