UK Minister blasts Welsh Labour as he’s accused of trying to ‘imprison’ nations in the UK
A UK Government minister has blasted Welsh Labour after he was accused of trying to “imprison” nations in the UK.
Commons leader Mark Spencer said that the SNP were trying to use “smoke and mirrors” to break up the UK and that Labour couldn’t be trusted to run it after doing a bad job in Wales.
He first clashed with the SNP after being asked by MP Pete Wishart if it was “OK to try and legally imprison a nation in what is supposed to be a voluntary union of equals” over the UK Government’s refusal to grant an independence referendum to Scotland.
He was then criticised by Labour shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire who said that there were “striking similarities” between the SNP and the Conservatives, which is that they were trying to “make the next election all about cultural wedge issues”.
“The SNP has no greater asset in their attempt to break up the UK than the Prime Minister,” she said. “Does the leader really think that propping up this failed Prime Minister is helping the Union?”
Mr Spencer replied: “When she talks about a Labour government delivering for the UK, let’s just look at the facts.
“If you compare cancer outcomes in England, 65% of cancer patients start treatment within six weeks. In Wales, it is only 55%.
“That is because Labour run the NHS in Wales and they don’t run it as efficiently, and it is not having as positive outcomes as it is for those in England.”
He added: “She can spend her time here complaining and claiming that they have a plan, but the simple fact is the Labour Party do not have a plan for the United Kingdom. The Government is getting on with solving the challenges that we face.”
SNP Commons leader Pete Wishart had asked the Government to organise a debate about democracy in the UK, amid claims it has been put in “some sort of Tory deep freeze” where people cannot change their minds.
“We need a debate about democracy across the UK,” he said.
“We need to properly consider why this Government thinks it’s OK to try and legally imprison a nation in what is supposed to be a voluntary union of equals.
“We need to figure out why this Government seems to believe that somehow democracy can be put in some sort of Tory deep freeze where people aren’t allowed to change their minds and where parliamentary majorities don’t seem to matter.
“We need to debate why a nation should continually endure governments it didn’t vote for, why they think our country is better governed by these Tories rather than the people who live and work in Scotland, and we need to consider what Scotland has done to whatever almighty is out there to end up being governed by this particular Prime Minister.”
Mr Wishart added in the Commons: “We have to ask is this broken Brexit Britain the best that Scotland can ever be and ever aspire to?”
Mr Spencer, in his reply, said: “Why are other countries, of a similar size, bouncing forward quicker than Scotland?
“Because they don’t have the anchor of the SNP running their government and they don’t have them holding them back.”
Earlier, shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire described the Scottish Government’s plans for a second independence vote as an “illegal referendum in Scotland”.
The Labour MP added: “The First Minister gave the game away in her statement to the Scottish Parliament. It seems it wasn’t about a referendum, it was about the next general election.
“Nicola Sturgeon seems to be happy for the 700,000 people on an NHS waiting list in Scotland to take a back seat while constitutional debates take precedence for the SNP.”
She added: “But I notice the striking similarities with the Conservative Westminster government who want to make the next election all about cultural wedge issues.
“The best way to protect and strengthen the UK is clearly a Labour government that delivers for every nation and region of our country.”
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