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Wales is ‘sleepwalking’ towards independence because of Westminster, says First Minister

23 Mar 2021 2 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford speaking in the Senedd

Wales is “sleepwalking” towards independence because of the actions of the UK Government, according to the First Minister.

Mark Drakeford criticised Westminster for stoking “the fires of nationalism” and accused it of treating the other nations of the UK in an “utterly disrespectful way”, while being questioned in the Senedd.

He suggested that the “aggressive unilateralism” of Boris Johnson’s government was “a recipe for the break-up of the United Kingdom”.

The First Minister made his comments after being accused by Conservative MS Darren Millar of “regularly” trying “to undermine the UK Government’s policy”.

The First Minister said: “Llywydd, a vote for the Conservative Party in May is a vote to hand Wales over to Whitehall, because that is the policy of the UK Conservative Government.

“It is to roll back devolution wherever it can, to put us back in our place, taking on devolved Governments instead of working with us.”

‘Fires of nationalism’ 

He added: “I am critical of the UK Government, of course I am, but I do it because I am a firm believer in the future of the United Kingdom, and yet we have a Government at Westminster who every day stokes the fires of nationalism because of the utterly disrespectful way in which it treats other nations of the United Kingdom, because of its failure to discharge the most basic obligations, such as publishing the Dunlop review and concluding the inter-governmental relations review.

“There is so much that can be done, and I think this Welsh Labour Government, under the leadership of Carwyn Jones and in the time that I’ve been First Minister, has led the way in putting positive and constructive proposals forward as to how the United Kingdom can go on being a success. That is what I want to see.

“The neglect of that by the UK Government, their belief that the way to deal with the United Kingdom is to roll back the history of the last 20 years, and to do so in a way that is characterised by aggressive unilateralism on their part, is a recipe for the break-up of the United Kingdom.

“That’s why I’m critical of the UK Government, because it is sleepwalking us all into a future in which the very thing I want to see avoided becomes more likely.

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