Watch: Plaid Cymru MP takes aim at Westminster’s ‘adversarial pantomime’
A Plaid Cymru MP has taken aim at Westminster’s “pantomime” of “adversarial politics” in a hard-hitting speech.
In a debate House of Commons, Liz Saville Roberts, who represents Dwyfor Meirionnydd, contrasted what goes on in the Westminster parliament with the cooperation agreement between her party and Welsh Labour in the Senedd.
The agreement, which was officially signed today by the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, and the Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price, includes action on free school meals for all, strengthening the Welsh media, the development of north-south railway links, the teaching of Welsh history, second homes, a larger Senedd and more.
The Plaid MP argued that the deal between the two parties was “the politics of the 21st century, and not a museum piece”, and said that the behaviour of the Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson has “necessitated it”.
She told MPs that Westminster has “insulated itself from criticism and failure by burrowing deeper” into its “traditions” and suggested that it “remains entrenched in the conventions of a time when landed gentlemen indulged in debating skills, all the while legislating to protect their own vested interests”.
“This is politics for the 21st Century – not a museum piece.”
— Plaid Cymru 🏴 (@Plaid_Cymru) November 30, 2021
Liz Saville Roberts said: “For too long this place has insulated itself from criticism and failure by burrowing deeper and deeper into the traditions and virtues of history. It remains entrenched in the conventions of a time when landed gentlemen indulged in debating skills, all the while legislating to protect their own vested interests, two sword-lengths apart.
“You would wonder, would you not, Madam Deputy Speaker, what has changed. Its chronic reluctance to overcome adversarial politics and to modernise means that its vulnerabilities can be, and have been, easily exploited by some for personal or political gain. This place lent itself to that.
‘Need to do better’
She added: “We need to do better to remedy the sheer immensity of the challenges that we face. We have all talked about that, but we have been so adversarial about it, haven’t we?
“We have used it as a pantomime charge to throw against one another. It is a consensual rather than an adversarial politics that lies at the heart of Plaid Cymru’s co-operation agreement with the Labour Welsh Government, which was ratified this weekend. The conduct of this Prime Minister necessitates it.
“It has brought Labour on board with several key Plaid Cymru pledges, including free school meals for all primary school pupils, the devolution of the management of the Crown Estate, a commitment to take radical action to address the second homes crisis and, yes, long-term reform of the Senedd, to name but a few. This is the politics of the 21st century, and not a museum piece. The behaviour of this Prime Minister has necessitated it.”