‘Welsh Labour should be independent from UK party’, says Senedd member
A Labour Senedd member has suggested that Welsh Labour should be “independent” from the UK party.
Mick Antoniw, the MS for Pontypridd, made the suggestion on the Hiraeth podcast in a debate that was organised by Welsh Labour Grassroots/Momentum and The World Transformed.
During the discussion, he was asked if it were possible for Labour in Wales to disentangle itself from UK Labour.
He said that UK Labour was “increasingly centralist” and that the party couldn’t “credibly” support federalism while being run in that manner.
Antoniw has co-authored a report called Radical Federalism, which calls for “decentralisation of power” and for the UK to be “a voluntary union of nations”.
His party’s leader in Westminster Keir Starmer has promised to “push as much power as possible away from Westminster” with a new round of devolution, and has enlisted former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to draw up plans for a federal UK.
Mick Antoniw said: “Well funnily this is an ongoing debate that we’ve been having recently. We can’t credibly at the moment support the concept of the decentralisation of power, federalism, confederalism, whatever, but at the same time to have a party that is being run centrally and increasingly centralist.”
He added: “My view is, I think the Labour Party should become a combination of independent Labour parties. I think there would obviously be a common social democratic, second international link etcetera, in terms of cooperation and how that would work would be complicated.
“But I think that is an inevitable development and I think that is a debate that is probably going to start over the course of the coming months and it’ll a very difficult debate, let’s be honest about it.
“But I think it is inevitable that there has to be political decentralisation as well in the proper, the full sense, if we really believe in the decentralisation of power within the governance of the UK.
Fellow Labour Senedd member, Mike Hedges, who represents Swansea East, added: “I agree entirely with what Mick said. Of course, we used to have it, or might still have it with the SDLP in Ireland, who were a sister party to the Labour Party in Britain on mainland UK.
“So, there’s no difficulty in doing that, and I think we need to have a Welsh Labour Party as soon as possible to show that we’re not just a part of London.”