People of Wales ‘involuntary inmates’ in the UK union, says Plaid Cymru leader
The people of Wales are ‘involuntary inmates’ in the UK Union, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader has said.
Liz Saville Roberts MP made the comment in the House of Commons after the UK Supreme Court unanimously decided that the Scottish Government does not have the power to call an independence referendum.
Labour does not support another referendum on Scottish independence, Sir Keir Starmer’s spokesperson has said.
Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “The Tryweryn vote in 1957 taught people in Wales that Welsh MPs can always be over-ridden by the structural tyranny of the majority here in Westminster.
“The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, himself a unionist, is on record saying that the United Kingdom can only be sustained as a ‘voluntary association of four nations in which we choose to pool our sovereignty for common purposes and for common benefits’.
“Given the Labour front bench has parroted the same lines as the Tories this afternoon – will he [Secretary of State for Scotland] write to the First Minister of Wales to confirm whether we are voluntary partners in this union, or involuntary inmates?”
Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack responded saying: “No, I won’t be writing to the First Minister of Wales. I’ll leave that to the Secretary of State for Wales or anyone else who feels that’s in their remit. Polling shows that less than a third of Scots want another independence referendum.”
‘Question of democracy’
There is now a “massive question of democracy” that needs to be answered, the SNP has claimed.
In an urgent question, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford told the Commons: “It is right that the UK Government answers questions today and answers them quickly because this morning the Supreme Court dealt with the question of law. There is now a massive question of democracy.
“Some of the Westminster parties are already wildly celebrating this morning’s decision. But I think it is safe to say that their thoughtless triumphalism won’t last very long because this judgment raises profound and deeply uncomfortable questions about the basis of the future of the United Kingdom.
“The biggest question of all is how the Prime Minister can ever again repeat the myth that the United Kingdom is a voluntary union of nations?”
Mr Blackford referenced the Smith Commission set up in the wake of the 2014 independence referendum, quoting that is said nothing could “prevent Scotland becoming an independent country should the people of Scotland so choose”.
He asked: “If his Government is still committed to that promise, will he urgently amend the Scotland Act to ensure that the Scottish people have the right to choose our own future?”
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the UK is “not a partnership of equals” and called on the Government to set out how “the north of Ireland can leave”.
The MP said in the Commons: “This United Kingdom is clearly not a partnership of equals. That has been made absolutely clear today.
“So, when will this Government publish clear criteria for how the people of the north of Ireland can leave this United Kingdom?”
Scotland Secretary Alister Jack replied: “I suggest the honourable gentleman ask that question in Northern Ireland questions.”
Bill of Rights
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies has dismissed calls for Wales and Scotland be given the “right to self-determination” in the UK Government’s proposed Bill of Rights.
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