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Plaid Cymru calls for next UK Govt to axe Secretary of State for Wales role

25 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies

Emily Price

Plaid Cymru will bring forward a motion in the Senedd this week calling for the next UK Government to abolish the role of Secretary of State for Wales.

The debate on Wednesday (June 26) will see the party raise owed HS2 consequentials and the Welsh Government’s previous commitment to devolving justice and Crown Estate assets as evidence that the role is “outdated” and does not effectively serve the interests of Welsh people.

The official purpose of the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales is to ensure, “Welsh interests are represented at the heart of the UK Government and the UK Government’s responsibilities are represented in Wales”.

Plaid Cymru have accused Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Jo Stevens of showing a “contemptuous attitude towards devolution”.

Last week, in an interview with S4C programme Y Byd yn ei Le, Ms Stevens denied HS2’s existence and characterised the devolution of justice and policing as “fiddling around with structures and systems.”

‘Imbalance’

Plaid Cymru’s Senedd Business Manager, Heledd Fychan says the Secretary of State for Wales and its shadow opposition role show an “entrenched imbalance of power” between Westminster and Wales.

She said: “Section 114 of the Government of Wales Act encapsulates this clearly – enabling the Secretary of State for Wales to veto any Senedd legislation. It is a power grab function designed to send Wales a clear message that others will always be able to control our destiny.”

Plaid’s candidate for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Liz Saville Roberts added: “Welsh democracy doesn’t need second guessing. It’s high time that this outdated role which does not effectively serve the interests of the people of Wales is abolished and its functions transferred to the Welsh Government.”

Whitehall

The most recent Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies has served in the role since 2022 representing Welsh interests across Whitehall on matters which are not devolved.

He said: “I’m absolutely astounded that the so-called ‘party of Wales’ is now wanting to silence Wales’ voice at the top table.

“Every single week, in cabinet and elsewhere, I speak up and champion Wales and ensure our best interests are heard.”

In recent months Mr Davies has overseen the Tata Steel / Port Talbot Transition Board after plans were announced to close the site’s blast furnaces putting 2,800 jobs at risk.

The board will provide ministers with advice on how to support and mitigate the impact on workers.

Mr Davies later announced a £500 million UK Government support package for Tata after the firm warned it was losing more than £1 million a day.

He said: “Without this deal, we would have witnessed the death of Welsh steelmaking.”

A UK Government source also pointed out that in January, the Secretary of State announced over £2.5 billion in UK Government levelling up funding to transform local areas.

Amendments

The Welsh Tories in the Senedd have tabled an amendment to the motion calling for the next UK Government to ensure that Wales’s voice “continues to be given prominence in the Cabinet” via the appointment of a Secretary of State for Wales.

The Welsh Government has also tabled an amendment to the Plaid Cymru motion calling for the creation of a “Council of Nations and Regions” underpinned by “strong intergovernmental working” and a Secretary of State for Wales “dedicated to Welsh affairs within the UK cabinet”.

The debate will take place during opposition time in the Senedd on Wednesday (June 26).

The Plaid Cymru motion proposes that the Senedd:

1. Notes:

a) the cross-party support in the Senedd for Wales to receive its fair share of HS2 consequential funding; and

b) the Welsh Government’s previous commitment to the full devolution of justice and the Crown Estate assets in Wales.

2. Regrets the failure of both the UK Labour and Conservative Party manifestos to commit to deliver on the settled will of the Senedd and the Welsh Government on these matters.

3. Believes that this further demonstrates that the office of Secretary of State for Wales is outdated and does not effectively serve the interests of the people of Wales. 

4. Calls on the next UK Government to abolish the position of Secretary of State for Wales. 


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Riki
Riki
26 days ago

PC asks for the Secretary of State for Wales to be scrapped – Yeah, you may as well ask for the English to admit King Arthur was real while you are at it. They will never do either as it completely goes against their interests of completely Eroding our ancient history and identity. I’m a Cymro-Briton, not Welsh!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
26 days ago

My mate’s a Neanderthal and I’m Cro-magnon but these new Sapiens think they are so superior, trouble is they just lie, cheat and kill and make lousy neighbours with their forever pollutants and climate destruction…

Gareth
Gareth
26 days ago

77 years after the viceroy of India was consigned to the bin he belonged in, its about time for his equivalent here to follow suit. After all, we are all equal partners, aren’t we?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
25 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Nail…Head !

But Welsh Labour Ministers are still high on the Raj…

Riki
Riki
25 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

This isn’t 1485, the only man that ever ruled England and saw both England and Wales as equals was Henry Tudor.

Last edited 25 days ago by Riki
Mrs Lorraine Mountjoy
Mrs Lorraine Mountjoy
26 days ago

Pity help wales with Jo Steven’s as the Secretary of State
She’s already made her position clear
Wales won’t be her priority

John Ellis
John Ellis
25 days ago

As and when Plaid Cymru – or maybe some future other Welsh national party yet to be conceived – achieves stable and lasting majority support from Welsh voters, this simply isn’t going to happen.

Right now we are where we are, and while I wholly empathize with the sentiment underlying Plaid’s motion, I think that in the current situation it’s essentially nothing more than gesture politics.

CapM
CapM
25 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

These “gesture politics” produce Senedd debates which are then a matter of record which enable the people of Cymru to determine what the views and positions of their Senedd members and political parties are at a point in time. With which Senedd members and political parties can be held to account for now and in the future by the electorate.. In this case a number of issues including the existence of the position of Secretary of State for Wales have been flagged up. Whatever anyone’s views on them are they are all of direct and current relevance to how Cymru’s… Read more »

John Ellis
John Ellis
25 days ago
Reply to  CapM

I don’t – indeed, I don’t think that anyone could! – in principle disagree with the point which you make in your first paragraph. But unless a multiplicity of opinion pollsters turn out to have been comprehensively wrong, we look set at the end of next week to witness the election of a new house of commons at Westminster with a solid and maybe an unprecedented Labour majority. Which will produce a Labour government which, led by Starmer, looks set to be the most cautious and ‘small-c conservative’ Labour government of my by now rather long lifetime – even more… Read more »

CapM
CapM
25 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Your comment just underlines why Cymru needs to push the agenda in order to counteract the soon to be master servant relationship between Labour in Westminster and Labour in Cymru.

And there is only one party in the Senedd that will do the pushing.

John Ellis
John Ellis
25 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Indeed there is. And its success in pushing oughtn’t to be under-estimated: I moved to Wales as a student in 1964, about a week before the 1964 general election took place – little dreaming at the time that I’d be living on in Wales for the next twenty years. I was in Cardiganshire, as it was still then officially named, and in October 1964 the constituency once again returned a Liberal MP as it had long done. Plaid locally didn’t seem to be that much of a factor – which is perhaps why few were prepared for it when Gwynfor… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
25 days ago

Yes, the post of Welsh Secretary should be scrapped. We have the situation where numerous Welsh Office ministers have activity undermined devolution and Wales when they should have been our voice at the table fighting for our interests. Take MP for Monmouth David TC Davies. He was put into the position of Welsh Secretary because he is anti-Welsh, an agent provocateur, who said during the HS2 debacle that , and I quote ” Wales should not get one penny”, this from someone supposedly in cabinet representing Wales. He also sent millions of Welsh block funding back the the English Treasury… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
25 days ago

I’m not a member of Plaid Cymru but the next bit may sound like a party election broadcast. Plaid Cymru IS the only party that DOES fight for the interests of Cymru. The rest are happy to let it languish as a colonised holiday apartment and playground of the British Empire. It’s way past time that Labour and Lib Dems got with the programme of Independence and this must move forward quickly in the next five years. They will not be forgiven if they leave us exposed to the nightmare of what could turn up in Westminster next time around.

Neilyn
Neilyn
25 days ago

Labour and Tory alike are essentially hard core Anglosupremacist-UKAINIANS masquerading as Britons; the left – right paradigm of old, whatever purpose it may have served in the past, is now defunct. Even the north of England is begining to wake up to this. All roads lead to London blah blah blah. All hail The Great Wen, the fountain of all wisdom, prosperity and morality! You there, you in the provinces and the assorted derisable little nations, consider yourself so fortunate to live in the orbit of such imperious magnificance! Why on earth would we Cymry want our independance? How very… Read more »

Rob
Rob
25 days ago

Who is more qualified to represent London, the Mayor who is democratically elected, or a secretary of state appointed by the Prime Minister? Why does Wales need a secretary when we have a democratically First Minister?
The position of Welsh Secretary isn’t Wales voice in Westminster, its Westminster’s voice over Wales.

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