Minister blasts Tory MP who said the Welsh aren’t the ‘ultimate authority’ in Wales
A Labour minister has taken aim at a Tory MP who claimed that the Welsh are not the “ultimate authority” in Wales.
Mick Antoniw, the Welsh Government’s Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said the suggestion by Robin Millar, the MP for Aberconwy was “bizarre, anti democratic and confused”.
In an essay for Strength in Union, a book launched at the Conservative party conference, the Conservative politician said idea that the Welsh are “the ultimate source of authority in Wales” is “wrong in fact and in law”.
He argued that the continuation of Westminster’s sovereignty over Wales will depend on people’s “belief in a covenant between the people of these islands” which he said the Senedd had undermined.
“Every time a UK minister has been pushed around by a devolved administration, they have unwittingly sent a message to voters that ‘one briton, one vote’ does not prevail in Wales,” he said.
“Welsh Government ministers, meanwhile, have explicitly founded their recent attacks on British authority in the tale that the Welsh are the ultimate source of authority in Wales – that there is no such national people as ‘the British’.
“This may be wrong in fact and in law, but it is a tale to tickle many listening ears.”
But Mick Antoniw hit back, saying: “A bizarre, anti democratic and confused Tory MP. I was brought up to believe that power in Wales came from and belonged to the people of Wales. Am I wrong?”
Robin Millar added that to secure the future of the UK, Unionists were going to have to tell a “story” of Britain that competed with that of the Welsh.
“While the claims of all sides are vested in ancient stories, it is the nationalists who have proved willing and adept at telling theirs,” he said.
“Herein lies the danger – an untold story becomes an unheard story and, over time, will be forgotten.
“The advocates of Britain, seemingly unaware of (or embarrassed to tell) a rich and contemporary story of British sovereignty, have instead thrashed about for alternative arguments, such as the scale of fiscal transfers from England to Wales or the economic benefits of the Union.”