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Starmer warned Wales’ elected representatives must be respected to reset relationship with his government

08 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth

Plaid Cymru has warned the new Prime Minister that any “reset” of the relationship between the UK and Welsh Governments can only be achieved if Wales’ elected representatives are respected.

Following the new Labour Government’s first cabinet meeting on Saturday (6 July) Sir Keir Starmer said he was seeking an “immediate reset” of the relationship between the Westminster Government and devolved nations as he embarks on a tour of all four corners of the UK.

He insisted “respect” would be the key ingredient in the bond between the new UK administration and its Irish, Scottish and Welsh counterparts.

Joint letter

In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, Plaid Cymru’s leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth, and its new cohort of MPs have requested a meeting to discuss key Welsh issues.

In the letter, Mr ap Iorwerth, together with the party’s four MPs – Liz Saville Roberts, Ben Lake, Ann Davies, and Llinos Medi – welcomed the Labour Prime Minister’s intent to “reset the relationship between the UK Government and the Welsh Government.” However, the Plaid Cymru representatives noted that this will only be achieved if the views of elected representatives in Wales are “respected.”

During the election campaign, the now Secretary of State for Wales, Jo Stevens, publicly dismissed several longstanding Welsh Labour policies, including the devolution of policing, the transfer of Barnett consequentials arising from investment in the HS2 rail project, and the devolution of the Crown Estate.

Opposition

Plaid Cymru is the largest Welsh opposition to the Labour Party in Westminster following last week’s election, with the party doubling its seats from 2 to 4. The Conservatives were wiped out, including former Conservative Chief Whip Simon Hart who was ousted by Plaid Cymru’s Ann Davies, and former Wales Office PPS Virginia Crosbie who was defeated by Plaid Cymru’s Llinos Medi.

Speaking ahead of a media event in London on Monday, Mr ap Iorwerth described the Plaid Cymru group as “the official Welsh opposition in Westminster” and requested a meeting with Sir Keir at “an early opportunity.”

He wrote: “Congratulations on your election success and we wish you well as you set about addressing the significant challenges that lie ahead.

“We welcome your statement of intent to reset the relationship between the UK Government and the Welsh Government, however, this cannot be achieved unless the views of elected representatives in Wales are respected.

“Where there is historical discrepancy between members of the Welsh Government and now UK Government on issues such as the devolution of the Crown Estates, the devolution of justice and policing, HS2 consequentials, and a fair funding formula for Wales, we would welcome early clarification on your position going forward.

“Wales’s ability to prosper is reliant on having the necessary funding and powers to create a fairer economy that is able to adequately resource our public services.

“At the heart of this is generating high-skilled, well-paid jobs such as those currently under threat at the TATA Steel plant in Port Talbot. Having urged TATA Steel to wait for a UK Labour Government, we look forward to urgent clarity on what portion of the £3billion you have pledged to the UK steel industry will be allocated to Wales and what steps will be taken to safeguard the thousands of jobs at stake.

“The previous UK government’s lack of respect towards Wales was undoubtedly a factor in the Conservatives’ electoral demise, a salient message to any administration which takes Wales for granted.

“As the official Welsh opposition in Westminster, we look forward to an early opportunity to meet with you to discuss the aforementioned issues and to ensure that the new respect agenda between the UK Government and our nation which has been promised becomes a reality.”

Tribalism

Speaking at the weekend, the Labour leader pledged to turn his back on “tribalism” in politics and usher in an era of “stability” and “moderation”.

“People across the United Kingdom are bound by shared beliefs. Fundamental values of respect, service and community which define us as a great nation,” Sir Keir said.

“That begins today with an immediate reset of my Government’s approach to working with the First and deputy First Ministers, because meaningful co-operation centred on respect will be key to delivering change across our United Kingdom.

“Together we can begin the work to rebuild our country with a resolute focus on serving working people once again.”


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S Duggan
S Duggan
6 days ago

Starmer wants unity but I doubt much, if anything will change. The system in Westminster is not there for Cymru, no matter which colour is in charge. Areas like HS2 and Crown Estate will see no change of policy and undoubtedly there will be more job losses in Port Talbot. There will eventually be ‘change’ but not involving a ‘United Kingdom’ but through an independent Cymru.

aled rees
aled rees
6 days ago

We can only hope Rhun.I hope it’s not the same old unionist crap wrapped up in a new sweet paper.

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 days ago
Reply to  aled rees

“…..same old unionist crap wrapped up in a new sweet paper.” Sums it up neatly.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
6 days ago

Where have all the Tory MPs gone Clark of Kent ?…think about it !

Howie
Howie
6 days ago

Plaid Cymru should be asking the people of Wales a similar question to what Starmer asked people in Scotland after 17 years of the SNP govt, positioning Labour for next Hollywood election. In Wales it should be, “Has your life got better since 1997, 27 years of Labour running Wales”. It needs the people of Wales to genuinely think about that when voting at the next Senedd election. The Labour position on Llanwern is now changing to we hope there is no compulsory redundancies, new technology means fewer jobs. A recurring theme that we will hear over the coming 5… Read more »

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
6 days ago

While Plaid improved the number of seats, they still got less than 15% of the popular vote in Wales, less than the Conservatives and even less than Reform.
I doubt Keir Starmer will pay too much attention to them.

Neilyn
Neilyn
6 days ago

Spot on Rhun. Let’s hope Keir Starmer sees sense and is truly the thoroughly decent man and public servant he’s made out to be. Wales will not be denied.

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