Tory MP suggests ‘Union identity’ is more ‘valued and respected’ than Welshness
A Tory MP has suggested that British identity is more “valued and respected” than Welshness.
Marco Longhi made the suggestion when he expressed his support for a petition to make Union Jack branding a “legal requirement” on Welsh number plates.
The Member of Parliament for Dudley North, also told the right-wing London-based news organisation, the Express that “separatist parties will dislike this”, when he made his case.
He said he is “very proud to support” the petition for all new UK number plates to carry the flag, whether the vehicle owners want to or not.
The Conservative politician argued that the Union flag has a high “recognition” overseas, and claimed that this is not the case for Wales’ flag.
His support for the petition follows that of English Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, who has previously called for children to sing God Save the Queen in school assembly, at least once a week.
In his backing of the petition, Marco Longhi told the Express: “Having lived and worked across Europe and the Americas, I know just how much recognition the Union flag has overseas. This is not the case for our individual flags for England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – it’s a fact.
“Separatist parties will dislike this, but our Union identity is hugely more identifiable and a symbol, a brand, that is valued and respected. So anything that supports our Union is something I would be very proud to support – including a flag on a number plate!”
The petition which was started by Daniel Homer, states: “The Union Flag is a symbol of Unity and strength of our United Kingdom and is highly regarded at both home and abroad.
“Now that the United Kingdom has left the European Union, we the undersigned request the UK Government places the Union Flag on all new UK vehicle number plates.
“At present the number plate is optional and the flag is not required, we ask the government to change the rules to ensure all new plates are sold with the Flag, as a legal requirement.”
‘Access to Welsh beaches’
Longhi has previously suggested that access to Welsh beaches is a basic right for his constituents.
He complained to the House of Commons that the nearest beach is in Wales and that access is “almost mission impossible”.
He made the comments in a debate titled Connectivity and Infrastructure within Wales and Cross-border. The UK Government is conducting a review into the matter.
In response to a question from Longhi, the Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said improving “cross-border holidaying” between Wales the and west midlands is “exactly what the review is about”.
He added that this is in part because it brings “gratification to the residents of Dudley”.
Marco Longhi said: “My Italian forefathers always understood the importance of sunshine, sandy beaches and full-bodied, gorgeous ice cream, but for those who live in Dudley, the nearest beach is in Wales, and access is almost mission impossible.
“What can my right hon. Friend do to improve the wellbeing of my constituents by improving access to these basic rights?”
Simon Hart replied: “Sadly, we cannot move Dudley, but what we can do is progress the Union connectivity review and strengthen the links.
“I know my hon. Friend’s part of the world very well. Of course, the cross-border holidaying and other activity between the west midlands and Wales is well known, and we want to improve it.
“That is exactly what the review is about, because we know that brings not only gratification to the residents of Dudley, but economic prosperity to both areas.”
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