Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Shadow Welsh secretary criticised after ‘patronising and contemptuous’ S4C interview

18 Jun 2024 5 minute read
Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens

Emily Price

The Shadow Welsh Secretary has come under fire for displaying a “patronising and contemptuous” attitude towards Wales in a general election interview.

Jo Stevens was heavily criticised after an interview with Catrin Haf Jones on S4C’s Y Byd yn ei Le programme, during which she backed Wales’ embattled First Minister, claimed HS2 doesn’t exist and refused to commit to devolving policing to Wales – something long called for by Labour in the Senedd.

Asked whether Ms Stevens’ party was “undermining devolution” by ignoring a vote of no confidence in Vaughan Gething, she branded the motion, “a political stunt by the Tories aided and abetted by Plaid Cymru”.

‘Embarassing’

Mr Gething has been embroiled in weeks of controversies over donations to his campaign to become Welsh Labour Leader and ministerial messages he deleted during the Covid pandemic.

Tory MS Tom Giffard branded interview “embarrassing”.

Asked whether Wales would get consequential funding from HS2 if a Labour government came into power, the senior Welsh Labour politician claimed the project is “no longer in existence”.

She said: “We don’t know how much money has actually been spent – we don’t know what money is left – if there is money left.

The current UK Government says the high speed rail project is at “peak construction”.

Ms Stevens added: “I’m not going to make any guarantees about anything that is not in our manifesto because everything in our manifesto is costed – we’ve said where the money will come from and how we will pay for it.”

Devolution

When quizzed on the devolution of justice and policing to Wales, Ms Stevens described it as “fiddling around with structures and systems”.

She said: “No one would be forgiven for trying to rip up and reconstruct the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice at a time when crime is blighting our streets.”

Handing over the responsibility of police, courts and prisons to Wales is supported by both the Labour led Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru in the Senedd.

It has been supported by several independent or cross-party commissions including the Thomas Commission (2019), the Silk Commission (2014) and most recently the Commission for the Constitutional Future of Wales (2024).

Ms Stevens said: “When we have had 14 years of Conservative government and we’ve seen what they’ve done to the policing and criminal justice system, where we’ve had 20,000 police officers cut from the street.

“We have got victims of rape who are waiting a thousand days for their case to be heard. If you’re looking through the lens of that through the criminal justice system you’re going to want things to be fixed.”

She added that “devolution is an agreement. It’s not a demand. Devolution is not an event, it’s a process.”

‘Contemptuous’

Plaid Cymru MS Heledd Fychan said Ms Stevens interview displayed a “patronising and contemptuous attitude towards Wales by Keir Starmer’s top team.”

She said: “Not a day goes by without it becoming clear that ‘Welsh’ Labour’s HQ is firmly based in London. On both fact and principle, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Jo Stevens is wrong.

“Wrong to say that high speed rail in England isn’t being built, and wrong not to support the principle that Wales should get its share of spending on transport projects in England.

“In referring to devolution as an agreement not a demand, the would-be Welsh Secretary gave us a preview of how Wales would be treated by a Labour UK government.

“Her insistence that devolving justice amounts only to fiddling around with structures and systems laughs in the face of Labour commissioned reports which make the positive case for devolving policing and justice.

“It’s becoming clearer by the day that the only vote for Wales’s voice to be heard and respected on July 4th is a vote for Plaid Cymru.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “The attitude on display last night by the politician who could soon become Secretary of State for Wales shows that Wales will merely be an afterthought for an incoming Labour Government.

“How is Wales ever meant to receive the investment needed to grow its own economy successfully if Labour cannot commit to things as basic as giving Wales its fair share of HS2 funding or electrifying the North Coast Mainline.

“The Liberal Democrats will continue to push for Wales to be given the investment it needs to drive forward its economic development.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “The choice at this election is clear: more chaos under the Conservatives, or a UK Labour government working in partnership with our Welsh Labour government to deliver a decade of national renewal.

“On 4 July voters have the opportunity to vote for a true partnership between governments, driving the improvements Wales and Britain need after 14 years of Tory decline.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
18 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Richard 1
Richard 1
26 days ago

yet another reason to vote for Plaid

Frank
Frank
25 days ago
Reply to  Richard 1

It doesn’t matter which party is in government in Westminster it will still keep Cymru underfunded, poor and wanting. That way, when England is performing badly, they can always say: “But look at Wales. We, here in England, are not as underachieving as them.” Sunak has recently used the Welsh NHS as an example of how poorly it is run compared to England’s NHS. Yes Mr. Sunak, even though the Welsh NHS is run by the Senedd it is the government in Westminster that is underfunding the Welsh budget. On top of that we are treating more and more incomers… Read more »

Deeside Boy
Deeside Boy
26 days ago

JS needs to congratulated for “
coming out “ of the closet on her views of the Labour Party in Wales.

Her open and full on comments widely reflect her Deeside Labour upbringing & Antipathy towards Cardiff Bay Gvt and a fondness for the “ greater Chester and Wirral area” way of life, Unlike Hannah Blythin from the same area – she has made little real impact here In Flintshire.

Howie
Howie
26 days ago

Further evidence of the actions of Labour politicians giving reasons not to vote Labour, my postal vote went back this afternoon, X in the Plaid box.

Frank
Frank
26 days ago

Has there ever been a Welsh secretary or even a shadow Welsh secretary that was a friend of Cymru? They must be only given the post if they detest everything Welsh. Is it compulsory I wonder!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
26 days ago

They have only one model of ‘Welsh Sec’ sadly…

Like the person in the benefit office or an old fashioned Naybob…

once thought extinct, they have been found flourishing in the UK for a decade or more…

damn! I meant to call in the Plaid office for a car sticker…

hdavies15
hdavies15
26 days ago

Didn’t take long to get her to show her true colours. She was ducking and diving like a cornered boxer and repeating shallow party lines like an 8 year old reciting her lines for school panto. If this is the best that Labour can put out then we are in for a hard 5 years because that is what a landslide really means. Should go far in Westminster where the ability to dump on your homeland counts for a lot.

Wiwergoch
Wiwergoch
26 days ago

This was a question dodging masterclass. Unwilling to rock the boat because underneath it all, much like Gething, she has no vision for Wales. Bring on the begging bowl as Wales votes Labour in their droves.

Algie
Algie
25 days ago

Unfortunately for us in Cymru the only offer on the table from any colour government in Westminster is flooded valleys, turbines on the mountains and a low wage
workforce to empower the rich landowning english, MPs included

Last edited 25 days ago by Algie
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
25 days ago
Reply to  Algie

Cymru has been sold to many countries, the ‘vendor’ has never given a damn, have a look at ENGIE or Electric Mountain…French/Canadian previously US/Japan…

Gareth
Gareth
25 days ago

Dic Sian Delyth.

Nia James
Nia James
25 days ago

The job of a Secretary of State for Wales is to block the advancement of Wales. Jo Stevens looks as if she’ll be a perfect advocate for London;s dominance over Cardiff. The more people I talk with the more I hear that people are dreading a Labour victory on July 4th.

John Ellis
John Ellis
24 days ago
Reply to  Nia James

I see your point, and so I’ve up-ticked your post.

But given that the only realistic alternative under ‘first past the post’ would be another five years of hard right Westminster Conservative government, which would be worse for Wales?

John Ellis
John Ellis
25 days ago

‘The Shadow Welsh Secretary has come under fire for displaying a “patronising and contemptuous” attitude towards Wales in a general election interview.’ I watched Y Byd yn ei Le live on the day, and that was exactly my impression too. Previously I’d considered voting for Labour on July 4th, on the grounds that I live in a part of north-eastern Wales where, historically, the contest has always been between Tory and Labour and Plaid has never been in with a chance. And I thought that the current incarnation of the Conservative party could potentially pose more of a threat to… Read more »

Annibendod
Annibendod
25 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Diolch am ystyried pleidleiso amdanom ni. We need to build Plaid’s vote, not just for this election but for the elections to come. It is vital to build momentum for Welsh Democracy.

John Ellis
John Ellis
24 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Ar hyn o bryd, mae’n ymddangos mai pleidlais i’r Blaid yw’r opsiwn gorau, am y rhesymau yr wyf wedi’u hawgrymu. Ond mae cwpl o wythnosau i fynd eto!

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
25 days ago

There is no difference, that I can see, between the turncoat and the shadow. It wouldn’t make any difference if they swapped parties!

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.