‘Union isn’t working’ and Boris Johnson ‘making things worse rather than better’, says Drakeford
Mark Drakeford has said that the “Union isn’t working” and that Boris Johnson’s approach to the United Kingdom is “making things worse rather than better”.
Speaking on Newsnight, the First Minister said that there was nothing inevitable about the fact that the UK would continue to exist.
“The Union isn’t working because we do not have the mechanisms in place for the four nations of the United Kingdom to come together to discharge together the things that are in our common interests to do,” he said.
“I don’t want to say it’s getting worse. We had a meeting with the Prime Minister last week. There are some promising signs that we can do better, but what we have to do is to make a convincing case for the United Kingdom.
“The idea that the United Kingdom is bound to go on regardless simply is to walk into the dangers that are there.”
Newsnight host Kirsty Wark was asked whether Boris Johnson was taking Mark Drakeford’s views seriously on the matter.
“I don’t think that Boris Johnson attends to it with the seriousness that is required. And I think his recipe for the United Kingdom is one that will make things worse rather than better.”
Mark Drakeford’s comments come after he used an interview with LBC last week to accuse the UK Government of continuing “to steal powers and money away from Wales.”
In an interview with LBC’s Matt Frei on Friday, Mark Drakeford explained how the governments of Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland had been holding “respectful” weekly meetings to discuss the latest news about Coronovirus.
However, the First Minister said: “In other contexts, the UK Government continue to steal powers and to steal money away from Wales.”
Matt Frei then said: “That’s quite an accusation” and challenged Mr Drakeford to “give examples.”
Mr Drakeford said: “We have had in the whole period of devolution, powers in Wales to make decisions about regional economic development inside Wales. We have had money that’s come to Wales and those decisions have been made here in Wales.
“Yesterday we had a visit from a UK Secretary of State who knows very little about Wales and has no responsibilites for Wales at all. And he came to tell us that from now on he will be making those decisions.
“He’ll be making them in Whitehall; he will be using powers that belong here; he’ll be using money that should be here and people here in Wales will have no influence over those decisions. That really is the reversal of the way things ought to happen and shows that, while in some aspects, and the coronovirus virus is a better example, but in other places – this is a UK Government that continues not to respect the history of devolution and the decisions that the people of Wales made in two separate referendums to have those decisions made here on their behalf.”