Welsh devolution has ‘not sated’ demand for more autonomy, Tory MP complains
Welsh devolution has “not sated the demand for greater autonomy” from Westminster, a Tory MP has complained.
Former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley suggested that the creation of “devolved institutions in Wales and Scotland”, has led to “driven the demand for more” autonomy instead.
The MP for Staffordshire Moorlands also suggested that the “relevance” of the union was being “seriously challenged”.
She made the comments an essay for Strength in Union, in which she argued against the countries of the UK becoming independent nation states.
Bradley said: “The value of the Union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is under intense scrutiny – and its relevance in the 21st century is being seriously challenged.
“Far from settling the matter ‘for a generation’, the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 has motivated those who would wish to see the end of the Union.
“The creation of the devolved institutions in Wales and Scotland and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, agreeing to power-sharing arrangements in Northern Ireland in the late 1990s, has, perhaps predictably, not sated the demand for greater autonomy but driven the demand for more.”
She also suggested that the loss of Welsh troops “would diminish” the “military capabilities” of England.
The Tory politician asked “what would happen to foreign policy if the Union were to break up”, and concluded that “British international influence would be diluted”.
‘Let us consider’
She said: “Let us consider, for the sake of argument, what would happen to foreign policy if the Union were to break up into its constituent nation states.
“Undoubtedly, British international influence would be diluted. Who would the world recognise as the successor state of the UK – the state with the right to inherit the former UK’s formal claims and capabilities?
“While England would remain in the world’s top 10 economies in terms of GDP, its military capabilities would be diminished with the loss of the Scottish, Welsh and Ulster regiments and the important submarine base at Faslane, which is of such vital importance to our nuclear deterrent, not to mention our ability to monitor Russian naval and air activities in the Greenland–Iceland–UK Gap.
“Which, if any, of the four newly emerged and clearly defined political units would claim the UK’s veto power on the UN Security Council? I am certain that there are other countries, like India, who may feel far more entitled to a seat than England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland alone.
“We have a duty, to those in need internationally, and to our compatriots, to take an active role in meeting our global commitments and leading the world. We are best placed to do this as one Global Britain, not four separate nations.”