Plaid MP speaks to comedian Tadhg Hickey about rebuke in Parliament for speaking Welsh and Irish
A Plaid Cymru MP has spoken to comedian Tadhg Hickey about being rebuked by the Speaker for speaking Welsh and Irish in the House of Commons.
Liz Saville Roberts, who represents the constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd, told the Irish entertainer on his podcast that the response of Lindsay Hoyle was “pretty daft” and that it “doesn’t really do Westminster any favours”.
During the session on the Commons chamber, Hoyle told the Plaid MP to “just stop” and that “extending the sentence in Welsh” was against the rules of the chamber.
In response the MP told the Speaker that the first part “was in Irish and the second was in Welsh” and explained that she was wishing everyone happy St Patrick’s Day.
She spoke about the testy linguistic episode during a wide-ranging discussion with Hickey on subjects such as Brexit, Welshness, and the connections between Ireland and Wales.
“The thing about learning another language – and coming at it from being monolingual in English before – is that the way languages open up other worlds to you. It enriches your life so much.
“People talk about it as being a heritage issue. It isn’t just heritage. For me – this girl from Southeast London – it’s becoming part of a community.”
“I wished the world a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day in Irish this year on St Patrick’s day during Wales Questions and the Speaker went into a panic. It was pretty obvious that I wasn’t saying anything that was going to offend or frighten anybody, but the first response is, “Oh My God, she’s not speaking English – again. It doesn’t sound like Norman French. We probably need to be a bit careful here.”
“The push back you get, the sudden panic that they’re saying something which we don’t understand, doesn’t really do Westminster any favours, especially when you can still go on, ‘La reyne le veult’… it’s pretty daft.”
“We see this resurgence of Britishness, which is a resurgence of Englishness, and how Wales is caught up with that way of viewing the world, that strikes me hard as a tragedy.”
“If you look at my pedigree I am English through and through – my family are from the South of England – but being Welsh is because you’ve chosen to live here. It doesn’t matter what your colour is, your language, your background.”
“The closest capital city to me here (in Morfa Nefyn) isn’t Cardiff, certainly isn’t London, it’s Dublin. There are Irish place names here in the Ll ŷn Peninsula, which itself shares its name with the Laigin in Leinster.
“There used to be Irish people and there are Irish farm names here. So we have these old connections – we used to be more connected by sea to Ireland than we ever were with London. So there is an aspiration that we could work together – there’s so much in our cultural heritage that’s similar.”
Future of Wales
“Do we want to be subsumed into Boris Johnson’s jingoistic, flag waving English nationalism that hides behind the Brit Nat rhetoric, which means losing identity and losing the values many people in Wales hold dear to? There is a wakeup call here.”
Vision for Wales as a peace-making nation
“Although we have connections with the armed forces, we’re not an aggressor. We would be looking to prioritise how do we build peace rather than how we make war – we’ve got that great tradition across the political left in Wales.
“We could be adding our voice to the world in very much a similar way to how Ireland is perceived. People tell me that if you have an Irish passport, you can go everywhere, and everybody welcomes you. That’s not the same with a British passport.
“I would love it if we had a Welsh passport and you could go everywhere … and that that passport meant that you came as one of those people who was looking to build communities, that appreciated everything that minorities and minority languages bring, and that you would be looking to be one of the peace-making nations of the world. That would be fantastic.”
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