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Plaid Cymru leader accuses Keir Starmer of being ‘disinterested’ in Wales

31 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Plaid Cymru leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth

The leader of Plaid Cymru has accused Sir Keir Starmer of being “disinterested” in Wales, calling for Labour to be serious about delivering constitutional change if it comes to power.

Rhun ap Iorwerth has set out his fears that a potential change of government in Westminster will not see the kind of powers handed to the Senedd that the people of Wales want, including over policing and justice.

His comments came ahead of a keynote speech at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Mr ap Iorwerth will be using the speech to set out his party’s vision for the ‘journey to independence’.

It also follows the publication of the Independent Commission On The Constitutional Future Of Wales’s final report on January 18, which concluded that the status quo was not a viable foundation for the prosperity of the nation.

Viable

It instead said that three options – independence, a federal system, and enhancing devolution – were all viable constitutional alternatives.

Addressing the media at the Senedd, he said: “My challenge to Labour following the publication of this report is ‘show us that you’re serious about delivering this’.

“Within hours of this report being published Jo Stevens, shadow secretary of state for Wales, rubbished the idea of devolving policing.

“That doesn’t bode well for Labour showing that they are listening to the people of Wales.

“This is a report that came off the back of 15,000 engagements with people throughout Wales, an incredible democratic exercise and a wonderful cross-party engagement.”

He added: “I found it quite startling the disinterest Keir Starmer has shown in Wales, given that, I assume, he expects a decent number of Labour MPs to be returned from Wales.”

While Mr ap Iorwerth stressed they wanted to see a change of government in Westminster, he said it did not mean that the country’s problems would suddenly be addressed.

Unlike in Scotland, policing in Wales is overseen by the UK government rather than the devolved administration.

Last week, Ms Stevens promised a possible future Labour would look at “strengthening of devolution” but it would “not be looking at devolution of policing and justice”.

Urgent

Mr ap Iorwerth also insisted that the cost-of-living crisis has only made the case for constitutional change “more urgent”.

He said: “Of course, a government has to deal with acute problems day to day to make sure that people are supported through a cost-of-living crisis.

“But you have to keep an eye on the future, on next week, next month, next year, the next decades.

“And what we have through the Independent Commission On The Constitutional Future Of Wales is the setting out of those steps that we need to take in order to help with those bread-and-butter issues.

“The Conservatives will tell you that it is vanity, why spend time on this?

“It’s about addressing the problems we have, it’s about holding government to account, helping people through the cost-of-living crisis and ultimately growing that stronger, fitter, fairer and more ambitious Wales.”

Asked if he considered federalism to be a viable option, he argued that England would be too large a partner and felt there was little appetite to split the country up.


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Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
24 days ago

Wake up Wales Labour same as Tories have both never been interested in Wales never have never will

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
24 days ago

Plaid’s Rhun ap Iorwerth is correct. Keir Starmer has no interest or intention of closing our devolution deficit. A vote for UK Labour is a wasted vote in Wales. Same old same poverty rule and we Welsh are forever the fool. I can recall when Starmer only mentioned Wales once in a 14000 word essay. And when criticised by Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts in a House of Commons debate in 2021, his patronising reply only rubbed Wales nose further into the dirt. This was his lame response back then: “Wales is deeply reflected in the piece because it is… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
24 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Only moral contortionists need apply these days…

Who was the last Prime Minister to give a fig for Cymru…

Lloyd George ! Probably Harold Wilson…

I notice that the DPP is keen to make calling IDS Tory Sc*m a crime with the help of an appeal to the Supreme Court…at great expense ! IDS of all people…

Richard E
Richard E
24 days ago

Sadly true I’m afraid – and perhaps it will be this that his Wales branch will at last see ?

Lord Custard
Lord Custard
24 days ago

More interested in keeping bankers’ bonuses!

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
24 days ago

I would describe Mr keir starmer and jo stevens as scabs. There will be no discernable benefits to Cymru with him as prime minister and her as secretary of state.

At the very least there should be full devolution of policing and justice, as well as crown estate with mineral rights and territorial waters. I hope to live to see full independence in my lifetime!

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
24 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Wales will vote Labour.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
24 days ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

Unfortunately you are correct

Annibendod
Annibendod
24 days ago

Oh, Starmer is very interested in Wales and I know in exactly which regard. This is because he told us in an interview in the Western Mail shortly after becoming Labour leader. When asked if Wales was important to Labour, he said “Labour doesn’t win unless it wins in Wales”.

So there you have it folks. That’s why Labour thinks Wales is important. A nice reliable supply of votes. Shall we prove them wrong? Vote Plaid Cymru and help build that mandate for independence.

Steve George
Steve George
24 days ago

Pet peeve! Disinterested means ‘impartial’ or ‘unbiased’. He means ‘uninterested’.

Last edited 24 days ago by Steve George
Riki
Riki
24 days ago

Oh really… Ofcourse he is, why wouldn’t he be!…him being English, what did you expect? Why would a foreign politician ever care for Wales? Most of our own politicians don’t.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
24 days ago

Starmer is only interested in carrying on where the Conservatives left off

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