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‘Wales won’t abolish the Senedd’, says former Plaid Cymru leader

09 Feb 2021 3 minutes Read
The Senedd. Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

A former Plaid Cymru leader has said that Wales won’t abolish the Senedd.

Dafydd Wigley, who sits for the party in the House of Lords, told the Hiraeth podcast that he doesn’t “believe for one moment that we’re going to go down that avenue.”

He said that support for Wales having control over its own affairs had grown since the start of devolution and that it would be a “retrograde step” to turn back the clock.

He said: “A far greater majority today supports us having control of our own affairs than did in 1997 and 1999.”

Of people who want to abolish Wales’ national parliament, he said: “So, yes they’ll be there. The have every right to speak as they want to, but I don’t believe they represent a majority of the people of Wales, and it would be such a retrograde step if we want back to the sort of days we had in the 1990s when we had John Redwood as Secretary of State.

“A Secretary of State from a Conservative government representing the right-wing politics that has been rejected in Wales.

“He thought he had the right to govern Wales like a latter day governed general. Well, that might have been the past of the last century. It isn’t our future. I don’t believe for one moment that we’re going to go down that avenue.”

In the interview he also suggested that it was “next to impossible for Labour to form a government in Westminster” and that the best the party could hope for was a coalition and at worse “ultra-right-wing governments”.

‘Pro-independence view’ 

He added that the possibility of both Scotland and Northern Ireland leaving the union was also leading people from a Labour background to “come around to the pro-independence view.”

He said: “It’s next to impossible for Labour to form a government in Westminster. So, we’re going to be bound into at best coalition government at Westminster, at worst right-wing or ultra-right-wing governments.

“So, people with a Labour background are saying ‘well if we’re governing ourselves in Wales, there’s a chance at least we can do so on an acceptable social agenda with progressive economic policies that meet the aspirations and the needs of Wales’.

“You’ve got many people who are traditionally from a Labour background who have come around to the pro-independence view, or at least are willing to countenance it because they’re seeing with Scotland having taking decisions that will lead possibly to independence but already has led to the eclipse of the Labour Party in Scotland.

“If Scotland is going to be going its own way, and in Northern Ireland already there are people who are talking about the reunification of Ireland because of the effect of Brexit.

“Remember a majority in the north of Ireland voted to remain in Europe. If Northern Ireland and Scotland leave, leaving Wales as the only part of the so called United Kingdom left, being trampled all over by Westminster, it’s not surprising that more people are now looking towards independence and we need to show what model of independence could work, and what are the conditions necessary to make it.”

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