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‘There may not be UK left for Starmer to be Prime Minister of’ says Drakeford

29 May 2021 3 minutes Read
Keir Starmer picture by Rwendland (CC BY-SA 4.0). First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Mark Drakeford has said that he hesitates before answering people who ask him whether Keir Starmer will be the next Prime Minister – because there may not be an UK for him to be Prime Minister of.

Asked by the Mirror if he thought Mr Starmer would be Labour’s next PM, he said: “I certainly hope so and we will do everything we can to make sure that happens, and the next couple of years will be crucial in that.

But he added: “I will tell you what my hesitation is – that if we are not careful there will be no United Kingdom for him to be Prime Minister of.

“My hesitation is not about whether he can do it, my hesitation is about whether, with the current Prime Minister, the UK can stay together long enough for that to happen.”

He told the paper that the coronavirus crisis, in particular, had thrown independence into the spotlight.

“There is no doubt that the experience of the last 15 months has led people in Wales to ask that question more than ever before,” he said.

“But the results of the election I think are really pretty decisive. People had a choice between a party that wanted to abolish the Assembly and hand Wales back to Westminster – and they didn’t win a single seat.

“And you had a party that, much more than previously, made independence the front and centre of their campaign – and they lost ground.

“Whereas the Labour Party’s message of a strong Wales in a United Kingdom still represents where people in Wales want to be.”

‘Offer’

Asked whether he had any advice for the Labour leader after Welsh Labour’s big victory in this month’s Senedd election, he said that they needed to be “authentically Labour”.

“We’re very proud to be Welsh but we are very proud to be Labour,” he said.

“We’re not half-hearted Labour, we’re not shamefaced Labour, Labour that quite wishes we were trying to look a little bit like something else.

“We are authentically Labour, we make an offer that is true to the values, traditions, histories of the Labour Party in Wales.”

He said that Welsh Labour have held focus groups with Labout to Conservative switchers at the 2019 General Election in order to find out what was needed to tempt them back.

“Right from the very beginning the message we had from them was they hadn’t crossed the rubicon never to come back – they had leant their votes to the Tories for very particular reasons,” he said.

“They regarded those reasons as over and they were prepared to come back to Labour – but we needed to convince them to come back to Labour.

“They weren’t going to come back of their own accord, they still needed to know that what we had to offer would be what they would think was important to them.”

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Quornby
Quornby
18 days ago

Plaid GAINED three seats. Naughty Mark lying to the Mirror!

Bronwyn Curnow
Bronwyn Curnow
18 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

What lie? He said that the people who wanted to abolish the Senedd didn’t win a single seat, which is true. I don’t think that was part of Plaid’s policy

Nigel A Robins
Nigel A Robins
18 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

Plaid also got an unbelievable arsekicking in the ONE seat that they should have made every effort to hold. Labour outplayed them by being honest to our political roots.

Geraint
Geraint
18 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

Plaid did not gain three seats, not even close. They gained just one seat overall (in the regional list) but went backwards overall. Mark Drakeford is right to point that out and is right to point out that the anti-Welsh parties did not even get a seat.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
15 days ago
Reply to  Geraint

Well, turnout in Labour strongholds was low – as low as 35% in two seats.

Sooner or later, voter dissaffection WILL impact them… probably at the same time that support for independence reaches a critical level and the population discover to their peril, that Labour cannot get behind it.

Last edited 15 days ago by SundanceKid
Alec Dauncey
Alec Dauncey
18 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

Gained one seat?

Mandi A
Mandi A
17 days ago
Reply to  Alec Dauncey

Gained one seat back from the shape-shifter member of the House of Lords who took a Government job and nearly lost us our National Library. How could a former President of Plaid sleep at night with such a CV? All elected politicians who change party allegiance should stand for re-election, not keep taking the money without representing their constituents. Four and a half years that went on for. And he had previous, sitting as a cross-bencher when he became Baron Elis-Thomas because he was Chairman of the Welsh Language Board, an apolitical appointment.

Gafyn
Gafyn
18 days ago

Wales also did not vote for Westminster to steal back powers and repeal devolution through undermining what we all voted for originally.

Also I can’t see Labour getting in across the border what ever happens in Wales. Post Brexit seems to have hardened the English into a right wing mindset similar to that of North America. Maybe Labour need to rebrand as the centre right democrats.

Adrian Meagher
Adrian Meagher
18 days ago
Reply to  Gafyn

Why say North America when you mean USA. Canada and Mexico are different from USA just like Wales is different from England.

Mandi A
Mandi A
17 days ago
Reply to  Gafyn

Stealing back powers, that’s what voting Leave enabled, sovereignty and control like Henry VIII had control. Why do people always have to learn their lessons the hard way?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago
Reply to  Gafyn

We must face it, the rule of Fat Shanks Johnson is not acceptable to a people brought up for twelve centuries on the laws of Hywel Dda.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Hi mod, weak stomach or honeymoon sensitivity?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Annwyl Mod ,you have left gratuitous racist language up here and personal attacks on commentators…pam fi?

Gruff Llewellyn
Gruff Llewellyn
18 days ago

Mark Drakeford’s party held it’s own for only one reason. His handling of covid. As for a strong Wales in a UK, he has yet to tell us how that’s going to be achieved

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
18 days ago

They also won because of three other factors: they were the incumbents, with a record that, if not very successful, was not disastrous; and they were felt to be the party best placed to defend devolution against Boris Johnson and the Abolish twerps. Plaid could have done the latter job equally well, if not better, but they have little to offer the post-industrial regions that Welsh Labour are not already offering. And their drift towards wokism has little appeal outside student politics. Drakeford also had the advantage (unprecedented in Cymru) of regular news coverage in the English media, including telly.… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by Wrexhamian
SundanceKid
SundanceKid
15 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Yet most canvassers said the common theme emerging from the doorstops was a desire for “change”. Disaffection is high, the voter turnout record attests to that, but Plaid needs to find a way to tap into it.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
15 days ago

The Labour victory doesn’t tell the whole story.

Sooner or later, the very high dissaffection rate amongst the young (especially prevalent in Labour strongholds) will affect them.

Robert Williams
Robert Williams
18 days ago

Impressive from Mark Drakeford. Since he doesn’t lie and hardly ever exaggerates we need to take this seriously. For the same reason I’m heartened by his assertion that many who voted for the Tories in 2019 were only ‘lending’ their votes.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
16 days ago

So he still believes in the Union but do the Tories still believe in it or is that Johnson doesn’t want it to fall apart under his watch? If the threat of independence by Cymru and Scotland goes away both countries will just go back to just being ignored and neglected by Westminster. Drakeford has to realise there will never be a partnership of equals in these islands, certainly not if the Tories are in power, so we must aim for independence.

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