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Tory minister dismisses Drakeford call for Welsh ‘Home Rule’

11 May 2021 3 minutes Read
First Minister Mark Drakeford on Pawb ai’i Farn. Michael Gove picture by the Policy Exchange (CC BY 2.0).

A Tory minister has rejected Mark Drakeford’s calls for Welsh Home Rule.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove dismissed a warning from the First Minister that interest in independence would only rise in Wales unless the UK Government allowed the country a greater measure of self-government.

Gove told the Financial Times that other people might want to “devote some energy to that conversation” and added: “My focus is on the practical.”

He also reiterated the UK Government’s determination to use the powers in the Internal Market Act to bypass the Senedd.

The Welsh Government has condemned the Act as a “power grab” because it takes away powers over spending that were previously devolved and centralises them in Westminster. The Senedd voted overwhelmingly against it but was overruled.

The comments by Gove follow Welsh Labour’s win at the Senedd election where it picked up 30 out of 60 seats.

Its manifesto for the election called for the federalisation of the UK, as well as the devolution of specific powers such as policing and justice.

The Conservatives, running on a platform of greater alignment with the UK Government, only won one additional constituency – while two parties promising to do away with the Welsh parliament altogether failed to pick up any seats.

Gove also revealed he’d he said, spoken with the leaders of the Welsh and Scottish governments following the parliamentary elections on Thursday.

‘Good conversations’ 

He said: “I’ve had good conversations with the leaders of the devolved administrations.

“Everyone was resolved that the number one priority for the whole of the UK was to build back better and get out of the coronavirus pandemic.”

He added: “We just need to demonstrate how those institutions work to the benefit of all.

“I prefer that we concentrate on people’s priorities rather than looking for new areas of abstract debate to enter into.”

Mark Drakeford told the Financial Times that the result at the Senedd election had given Wales “breathing space” to reform the UK in a way that would give it “genuine stability”.

“We need Home Rule for Wales, more powers, a position where devolution cannot be pulled back by the whim of a prime minister.”

He added that Johnson’s approach was “adding to the stresses and strains that are undoubtedly on the UK”.

He pointed to the UK Government’s Internal Market Act, as an example.

“The action by the UK government to take powers away from Wales . . . is a recipe to turn the interest in independence in Wales into something more fundamental,” he added.

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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

“He also reiterated the UK Government’s determination to use the powers in the Internal Market Act to bypass the Senedd.” – And there we have it, lead Tories are blatantly stating it – they will undermine the authority of the Senedd and trample on democracy. Good ! It will show the people of Cymru what we are up against without us having to show them. We can focus all our attention on stating the benefits of independence instead. Thank you Govey – you are doing us a favour!

Ben
Ben
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

As much as I hate their methods, I find that by acting like this, I hope more than anything, will finally convince the unionist thoughts in Wales that we don’t matter to them and we’re better off by ourselves. It baffles me that brexit voters can vehemently oppose EU rule but are determined to be ruled by english tories.
It shows just how powerful manipulation is in Wales.

Glyn Morgan
Glyn Morgan
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

Because they mostly are English Tories

Cenedlaetholwr
Cenedlaetholwr
1 month ago

Gove puts us back in our place… 🙄 Mark Drakeford may think winning last week’s Senedd election would result in a greater deal of respect coming down the M4 from the UK government – especially when 44 of the 60 newly elected Senedd Members support a stronger Senedd with further power – then think again boyo! 🙄 If Plaid had had a decent election – gaining enough seats to deny Drakeford a working majority, and stopped the Tories leapfrogging them comfortably into 2nd place, then the UK government might has felt the need to listen, but UK government ministers know… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

We in Wales need more Michael Gove clones so that the sense of acute irritation will be multiplied severally. He is the most effective stimulant of anti Unionism I have seen in a long time. Even outscores that cove Reckless – oh, you had already forgotten him!.

Iain W Graham
Iain W Graham
1 month ago

In his famous 3-hour Irish Home rule Speech Gladstone beseeched Parliament to pass the Irish Government Bill 1886 and grant home rule to Ireland in honour rather than being compelled to do so one day in humiliation! Are we to see history repeat itself? When will arrogant individuals such as Gove learn? That to keep doing the same thing brings the same results!

Dafydd Evans
Dafydd Evans
1 month ago

Mark Drakeford needs to begin talking up independence as if he were Adam Price or Nicola Sturgeon and stop clinging to the coat tails of this so called United Kingdom. We need to grow a set, take a leap of faith and compel ourselves to succeed in a free Wales. More and more are seeing the real possibility of this each day – come on Mark – jump onboard!

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

Don’t forget in our haste for a united Welsh front that Labour’s Ms Nandy wanted the use of “Spanish Measures” against patriots in Scotland.

Joe Middleton
Joe Middleton
1 month ago

If Wales had elected 30 Plaid Cymru Members Gove wouldn’t be so relaxed about ignoring their FM.

Andrew Crowley
1 month ago

An interesting read. Downing Street knew that a dissolution of the Union was a likely outcome of the calamity of Brexit, yet they carried on regardless. Now the fruits of their lies and empty promises are coming to fruition as Scotland and Wales realise we’ve outgrown the decrepit aristocratic museum that is Westminster.

Quornny
Quornny
1 month ago

So much for your “precious union” Marc. Wake up and smell the cheese!

Deirdre Johnston
Deirdre Johnston
1 month ago

The Westminster government has always been an excellent recruitment sergeant for independence from its toxic tentacles. It paved the way for Irish indepencence (and is doing so for Irish reunification). It is ensuring that by its arrogant and disrepectful behaviour that it is doing so for Scottish independence. And so it will be for Wales too. The more nonsense like this that Gove and his criminal cronies spout the sooner the Welsh will wake up to the need for full independence from Westminster.

Mel
Mel
1 month ago

When Vaughan Gething takes over he will wipe the floor with Boris imo

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago

Mr Drakeford, if you bend the knee to these bullies now, you’ll be doing so for the entire term of this Session of the Senedd. But it’s scare tactics and bluff coming from Gove; he knows that you have a mandate from the Welsh people to defend devoution, and if possible to strenghthen it. We’re on a war footing.

AnthonyA Coslett
AnthonyA Coslett
1 month ago

One suspects Michael Gove, of all the present set of Government ministers and members of Johnson’s Cabinet, to be the one least endowed with intelligence and vision and a man who thrives upon a version of history that is false and terribly censored by the English ruling classes who wrote it. This ‘United Kingdom’ lost its purpose and reason for being the moment King James 1/6 United Scotland with England in 1606. Creating in London the centre of all governance did nothing to calm the opposition to Union still present amidst the nobles of both countries but especially amongst the… Read more »

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