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UK Government ‘a recruiting sergeant’ for Welsh independence says Mark Drakeford

11 Mar 2021 2 minute read
First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Mark Drakeford has said that the UK Government’s hostility to devolution has made it “a recruiting sergeant” for Welsh independence.

The First Minister said that Boris Johnson’s government was trying to wind the clock back 50 years and centralised power in London, “while singing ever louder choruses of Rule Britannia”.

He made the comments in an interview with The Irish Times to mark the recent signing of a joint declaration by the Republic of Ireland and Wales aimed at forging deeper economic ties.

“For the first time in 20 years we have a government in London, parts of which are straightforwardly hostile to devolution,” he told the newspaper.

“When people see this sort of aggressive unilateralism on the part of the UK government it undoubtedly leads some people to ask themselves if we would be better off without them.”

Brexit and pandemic have brought “a number of these issues starkly to the surface,” he said, adding that the break-up of the UK was possible if politicians only offered a “tweaking of the status quo”.

“I’m in favour of the UK. I think the UK is better off for having Wales in it and I think Wales is better off by being in the UK, but we need a government in Westminster that is dedicated to rolling the clock forward,” he said.

He pointed to trade as one area where he wanted to deepen Wales’ relationship with the Republic of Ireland, saying that Brexit had hit custom between the two countries.

“We are increasingly worried that this is not a temporary phenomenon,” he said.

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