‘We are seeing rising dissent in Wales’ says Gordon Brown
There is “rising dissent in Wales” against Westminster rule according to Gordon Brown.
The former Prime Minister made the comments as the UK Labour leader Keir Starmer promised more devolution in an attempt to see off Scottish independence.
It is understood that Brown is the driving force behind the initiative, and he has said that the response to the Covid pandemic has been stymied by UK governing flaws.
The latest poll for Welsh independence, in November, puts support at a record high of 33 per cent, and membership of the grassroots pro-independence group YesCymru has rocketed to over 16,000.
In the Sunday Times, Mr Brown said: “We can ‘do Britain’ better than this. The pandemic means that this is no longer just a Scottish issue: we are seeing rising dissent in Wales and a new northern revolt in England. We must now see Whitehall and Westminster pay heed.”
A group of Labour leaders, including Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, Scottish Labour’s Richard Leonard, London’s Sadiq Khan and the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, support the move to reform of the UK in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
It has been reported that as a first step, citizens’ assemblies are likely to get underway to listen to communities, and then a commission would be set up to examine fundamental reform. The plan would be developed over an 18-month timetable.
The Labour mayors of London, Liverpool City Region, Manchester, Sheffield City Region, North Tyne Combined Authority and Bristol have made a joint statement where they said that there has to be a national conversation, to prevent the union from breaking up.
They said: “The deeply flawed response to COVID has demonstrated just how damaging our current structures – the most centralised of any comparable developed country – really are.”
Keir Starmer said: “I believe in that core Labour principle that we achieve more together than we do alone.
“All four nations working together to build a more open, more optimistic and outward-looking country.”
“A United Kingdom that’s a force for social justice and a moral force for good in the world.
“That’s why I’m so determined to preserve and to renew the United Kingdom.”
This move by Labour comes as a new poll show that support for Scottish independence has equalled its record level of 58 per cent when undecided voters are excluded.
The research by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman is the 17th study in a row to show majority support for leaving the UK, with just 42 per cent backing the Union. Backing for independence first turned the tide in June.