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‘No case for defending the status quo’ of the union says Welsh Government minister

26 Jan 2021 3 minute read

Welsh Government minister Jeremy Miles has said that Labour must make it clear that there’s “no case for defending the status quo” if they want to preserve the union.

Speaking to LabourList he said that Labour must “lead” on the debate on the future of the independence and the union and make sure all the different options are “scrutinised”.

Asked about a poll in the Sunday Times showing 31% wanted an independence referendum in the next five years, Jeremy Miles said that Labour should offer radical reform.

“So our task is to say to people in wales that it isn’t a straight choice between what we’ve got now and independence,” he said.

“And the challenge for the Labour Party in Wales is to be leading on that debate really and I think we can be because I think we’ve got a good story to tell about the kind of reform that we want to put in place.

“But we are absolutely clear that we are not defending the status quo. There’s no case for defending the status quo. We want radical reform in Wales.

“It’s not the case that the only radical reform is independence. There’s an exciting sort of vision we can articulate as well really.”


Jeremy Miles also added that independence would involve “difficult choices” and compared the consequences to those of Brexit.

“And actually part of the issue for us is there’s a sort of way in which the argument about an independent Wales is slightly idealized really,” he said.

“It’s not properly scrutinized and what we need to make sure is that all the options which Wales might face in the future are scrutinized in the same way.

“Now so we just spent the last five years trying to decouple ourselves from a 40-year-old relationship, and it’s been hugely traumatic.

“The worst of it is yet to be felt, and it’ll be felt most badly by those people least able to carry the burden, as it always is. So that has been bad enough so we can’t pretend that trying to extricate Wales from a 600-year-old relationship is going to be easy – it’s not going to be easy.

“It’s going to involve difficult choices, just like being part of an unreformed union involves difficult choices.

“But the debate isn’t had in that way, and it needs to be so people have a right to scrutinize those different options, different visions for the future, really.”

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