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‘Wales must be allowed to choose its future’ says Price as Drakeford calls for ‘rethink’ if Scotland goes

27 Dec 2020 3 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford. Picture by CPMR – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CC BY-SA 2.0) Adam Price picture by Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said that Wales must take a pro-active approach to choosing whether its future lies in the UK rather than just waiting to see whether Scotland chooses independence.

He was responding to comments made by the First Minister Mark Drakeford earlier, who said that he would have to “rethink” Wales’ future if the Scots leave.

Speaking to BBC Radio Cymru’s Beti a’i Phobol earlier, Mark Drakeford said that he did not want to see Scotland “disappearing from the United Kingdom”.

But he said that “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.”

Adam Price, however, said that Wales should not wait before deciding for itself how it wanted to proceed.

“As First Minister I would take a pro-active approach to our constitutional future as a nation, in contrast to Mark Drakeford’s passive policy of refusing to consider the matter until Scotland votes to become independent, a policy which would allow us only 18 months to pass legislation, hold a referendum and implement its result,” he said.

“The constitutional and social upheaval that Brexit has wrought on us and the need to build a more progressive post-Covid future than Westminster would be willing to countenance means that the people of Wales must be allowed to choose the future course for our nation within the next few years.”

 

‘Listen’

Mark Drakeford had earlier said that Wales had had less influence on UK affairs under Boris Johnson’s leadership than Theresa May’s.

He 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.”

Saying that Mark Drakeford’s comments were “very true,” former First Minister 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.”

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