‘Of course’ Wales could thrive as an independent nation says Michael Gove
Michael Gove has said that “of course” Wales could thrive as an independent nation, but that it would be a mistake as “the United Kingdom is the single most successful state in the world”.
In a wide-ranging interview with WalesOnline, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up was asked whether he could see Wales thrive as a self-governing nation not under Westminster’s wing.
“I think Wales is one of the most amazing places in the world and of course it could,” he said while on a visit to Merthyr Tydfil.
But he added, “I think it would be a mistake, a huge mistake for people to want to speculate about separation, because the United Kingdom is the single most successful state in the world.”
“And it’s successful because of the contribution that people from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England make to it.”
He went on to say that the UK was “a multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-ethnic state, that shares attachment to the rule of law, to respect for property rights, to democracy, equality and decency”.
These were because of the contribution of people in Wales such as Nye Bevan who had founded the NHS and the BBC’s “best presenter” Huw Edwards, he said.
The Conservative Party had a record of enhancing Wales’ powers rather than reducing them, he said, citing the increase in devolved powers in 2011 and the setting up of S4C under Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1982.
His comments come after the Welsh Government has accused the UK Government of “levelling down” Wales as it was revealed that the country would get £329m less this year than it would have received from the EU if it was still a member.
They have also accused the UK Government of a “power grab” and an “assault on devolution” over attempts to centralise powers over devolved areas at Westminster.
Responding, Michael Gove said that “people in Wales benefit from having two governments – devolution is the best of both worlds for Wales.”
You can read the full interview with Michael Gove here.