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‘Tories need to choose between Boris Johnson and the union’, says Drakeford

04 Mar 2021 3 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford and Boris Johnson (OGL v.3).

Mark Drakeford has suggested that the Tories need to choose between Boris Johnson staying as Prime Minister and the union.

The First Minister of Wales was speaking in front of the Welsh Affairs Committee when he said the Conservative Party can keep Boris Johnson as PM or it can have the union, but “it can’t have both.

He accused Johnson of displaying “outright hostility” to devolution, which gave Wales its own national parliament, and said with that sort of attitude at the centre of the UK government, the breakup of the union comes “closer every day”.

The First Minister made his comments after sharing his vision for “entrenched home rule”, which would make the parliaments of each of the UK’s four nations sovereign.

He was asked by Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake about whether he was “confident” if it was “possible” given the “current dynamics in Whitehall”.

Drakeford said: “Well I certainly think that it’s possible, but I think the current circumstances are very difficult.

“I’ll quote the Financial Times for a moment Ben, which said recently that “the Conservative Party has to choose between the union and the Prime Minister because it can’t have both’.

“If it sticks with Mr Johnson then it is effectively saying that the union is over.

“If it is serious about saving the union then it needs a different leadership that is prepared to take the actions that will save the union.

“At the moment we have a Prime Minister who is clearly, I would say displays outright hostility to the fact of devolution.

“We’ve heard what he told a group of Conservative Members of Parliament, that he thought it was Tony Blair’s biggest mistake.

“I’m afraid, while there is a mindset of that sort at the centre of the government, the breakup of the union comes closer every day.”

‘Issue’ 

When outlining his vision for the constitution he said: “I believe that what we need is a UK-wide restatement of the constitutional relationship and I don’t think this is a Wales-only issue, and I think it’s an issue for England, and parts of England.

“I think the work that’s been done by a group in Wales on radical federalism contributes very positively to a renewed form of architecture for the United Kingdom in which we recognise that sovereignty is disbursed. Sovereignty is held in four separate elected parliaments across the United Kingdom.

“In Wales then certainly we would positively and constructively want to pool some of that sovereignty back for shared purposes.

“A structure for the United Kingdom that allows us to operate in that way that there is the maximum capacity for decision that in our case affect only Wales, and affect only people in Wales, should be made only by people in Wales.

“But that when we have purposes that go beyond Wales that are shared with other parts of the United Kingdom, we are able to cooperate and pool our risks and share out the rewards in that way.

“That is the sort of entrenched home rule set of arrangements that I have in mind and in which we’ve set out regularly as a Welsh Government and as my predecessor Carwyn Jones was always took a leading part really on a UK basis in trying to foster interest and a debate in all of this before it’s too late.”

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