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UK ‘needs major surgery to survive’ says former First Minister Carwyn Jones

27 Dec 2020 3 minute read
Former First Minister Carwyn Jones. Picture: Senedd Cymu.

The UK needs “needs major surgery if it is to survive” according to the former First Minister, Carwyn Jones.

He was responding to comments by the incumbent First Minister, Mark Drakeford, who had said that Wales has had less influence on UK affairs under Boris Johnson’s leadership than Theresa May’s.

“I don’t think our voice in Wales has a lot of influence on Mr Johnson,” Mark Drakeford told the BBC Radio Cymru show Beti a’i Phobol this afternoon.

Saying that Mark Drakeford’s comments were “very true,” Carwyn Jones said that the situation in which the UK Government could ignore the governments of Wales and Scotland had to change or the union would break apart.

“The UK needs major surgery if it is to survive. These are Four Nations and sovereignty must be shared, not held by Westminster alone and the constitution needs to reflect that,” he said.

“The alternative is to see Scotland leave, as most of Ireland did.”



Mark Drakeford said that he used to meet with UK Government ministers every week when Theresa May was Prime Minister but that contact had dried up under Boris Johnson.

“When Mrs May was prime minister – of course her situation was very different and she didn’t have a majority in the House of Commons – and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons why she was prepared to listen to others,” he said.

“But during the period when she was prime minister, we came together, almost every week, with UK ministers – us, Scotland’s first minister and so on. The relationship was closer.

“After Mr Johnson became prime minister, that changed. He has a majority and can do as he likes in the House of Commons, without listening to anyone else.”

Mr Drakeford said that “in the long term” the lack of communication between Mr Johnson and the four nations would not be “a successful way forward”.

“I think the UK’s prime minister has a responsibility to listen and to collaborate and to see what can be agreed by the four governments of the United Kingdom.”

“I don’t want to see Scotland disappearing from the United Kingdom. If Scotland decides to take its own path – it’s different in Northern Ireland – we’ll have to rethink about our relationship with England – and will need to consider the arrangements and the options.”

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