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Theresa May caught out in lie about accepting the result of the Welsh Assembly referendum

14 Jan 2019 3 minute read
Theresa May. Picture: Jim Mattis (CC BY 2.0)

Thersa May is set to make a speech today claiming that the 1997 vote to set up the Welsh Assembly was “accepted by both sides” – despite the fact that she herself voted against accepting the result.

She will refer to the Welsh Assembly in a speech about Brexit in Stoke, claiming that despite the narrow result “both sides” accepted that Yes had won and moved on.

However, Therssa May voted against the establishment of the Welsh Assembly in 1997, three months after the narrow result was announced.

Over a hundred MPs voted against setting up the Welsh Assembly following the referendum, including leading Tory Brexiteers Liam Fox, John Redwood, Bill Cash, Bernard Jenkin.

“When the people of Wales voted by a margin of 0.3%, on a turnout of just over 50%, to endorse the creation of the Welsh Assembly, that result was accepted by both sides and the popular legitimacy of that institution has never seriously been questioned,” Thersa May is set to say today.

As well as many Tory MPs voting against, the 2005 Conservative manifesto also promised: “We will give the Welsh people a referendum on whether to keep the assembly, increase its powers or abolish it”.

Theresa May also voted against the Bill to set up a Scottish Parliament after a 74% vote in favour in a referendum.

New Statesman political editor Stephen Bush, who uncovered the untruth, said: “I honestly think it is one of the most interesting things about May is that she is intensely relaxed about saying things that are untrue.”


Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, said the Prime Minister’s Brexit desperation has led her to have a “selective memory, deploy wilful hypocrisy or simply lie” about the referendum on the creation of the National Assembly of Wales.

“The Conservative Party campaigned against devolution and then promised a second referendum six years after it was established,” she said.

“The Prime Minister herself voted against the legislation which created the National Assembly for Wales, after the referendum.

“Unlike the unicorns of the Brexit referendum, the 1997 devolution vote was a clear question, with a clear outcome and clear consequences. The only party to attack it legitimacy was her party – this is hypocrisy of the highest order.

“Mrs May’s revisionist history shows a disregard for Wales, devolution and democracy.

“The Prime Minister should retract the statement and apologise.”

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