The Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, has come under fire after the chair of his new Western Gateway Partnership referred to the south of Wales and the west of England as “West Britain”.
The new chair Katherine Bennett, unveiled at the lunch on Friday, said that she was “convinced that West Britain is a powerhouse of the UK economy waiting to be unlocked”.
The Western Gateway describes itself as a strategic partnership “linking a number of towns and cities across a wide region either side of the Severn the Western Gateway” to promote and maximising economic growth.
The UK Government says it will attempt to mirror the work of the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.
““The Western Gateway region can be a true powerhouse of the UK economy if we take this opportunity to galvanise its many strengths to generate ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship in order to stimulate jobs and growth,” Alun Cairns said.
However, those reacting on Twitter suspected that the main aim of the new West Britain region was to erase Wales off the map.
“West Britain? It’s called Wales, so you can fuck right off with that neo-colonialist bullshit,” said motoring journalist Craig Thomas.
“Perhaps we should rename the useless Wales Office as the West Britain Office?” Blaenau Gwent Labour Assembly Member Alun Davies asked.
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards responded: “People of Wales if you don’t want to see our country turned into West Britain get out there and campaign for Plaid Cymru.”
NHS anaesthetist Dave Jones tweeted: “It is absolutely no surprise to me that Alun Cairns, the worst Welsh Secretary since the last one, is airbrushing out our national identity.
“Be under no illusions that these people see us as an annex of their Little England project,” he added.