Welsh Labour should be independent says UK party leadership contender

Clive Lewis giving his Shadow Secretary of State for Defence speech at the 2016 Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. Picture by Rwendland (CC BY-SA 4.0).

A Labour leadership contender and member of the shadow cabinet has called for Welsh Labour to be autonomous from the Labour party in England and Scotland.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis also said that the UK should be a federal state with the “maximum possible” autonomy for its constituent nations.

Lewis, who only has two leadership nominations so far among Labour MPs, made the comments in an article in the National newspaper.

In the article he said that the “English party” should not dictate to Labour in other parts of the country.

“Scottish Labour, like Welsh Labour, should have full autonomy from the English – free to decide their views on fundamental questions like support for independence,” he said.

“Modern politics has to be about pluralism and collaboration. The Labour Party must ditch its futile tribalism and modernise, or it will die.”

 

‘Equal’

Clive Lewis added that he wants “to be part of a union where everyone feels heard and their needs are accounted for. We have to be honest and admit that this simply isn’t the case at the moment”.

“What I hope for, out of the turmoil that we can all foresee in the next few years, is that we – England, Wales, Scotland – can emerge as a new federation of nations: freer than before, more democratic, more equal, and more at ease with ourselves and our place in the world,” he said.

Clive Lewis became shadow defence secretary in June 2016, and shadow business secretary in October 2016.

He previously served as vice-president of the National Union of Students, worked as a TV reporter for BBC News and served as an infantry officer with the Territorial Army. He served a three-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009.

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John EllisLeigh Richardsjr humphrysRoger SmithSteve Duggan Recent comment authors
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John Ellis
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John Ellis

He’s right, on this issue at least. But he goes against the flow of much traditional Labour thinking, not least on the party’s left, so he may not be doing much for an already rather implausible leadership bid.

Convention.cymru
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Convention.cymru

If you are a regular reader of Nation.Cymru, please try to get Dominion Status clear in your mind. Wales needs it. Its doable. Great introduction from two of the best ever explainers Wales has produced – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RI89GrVPQA

Steve Duggan
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Steve Duggan

It’s good to keep an open mind about our future status. However with the Conservative party in power, and likely to be so for a long time, there is little chance of any further devolution or form of self governance/independence being ratified by Westminster. Ultimately, the only way will be UDI – Unilateral Declaration of Independence. If the poverty about to be created by Brexit pushes Wales towards independence and it looks unstoppable, be sure, the Tories will use the Dominion staus card – under their terms – to keep us bound to their power. Poverty is endemic in Wales… Read more »

John Ellis
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John Ellis

You’re preaching to the converted on that one. Why people cavil about ‘continuing Westminster control’ baffles me: Canada, Australia and New Zealand achieved their autonomy via dominion status and don’t seem to have been much troubled by the long arm of London.

Steve Duggan
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Steve Duggan

Australia, New Zealand and Canada are not close – they were lucky in that respect. However, Wales is just down the road and is a different proposition entirely – no UK govenment, particularly a Unionist Tory one, will ever actively allow a break up of the UK in any shape or form. Unless of cause you are Boris Johnson who would gladly sell his grandmother if it meant leaving the EU or gaining a good trade deal was guaranteed and his ego saved.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

My argument was simply that in respect of ‘dominion status’ – originally the start of the transition from ’empire’ to ‘commonwealth’ – we have a blueprint available. If what might be offered doesn’t match the blueprint, it can’t be authentic dominion status, whatever they said about it. But I’m inclined to agree with the Unionist Tory point. I would have done so wholeheartedly prior to the revelation that a majority of grassroots Tory members saw the possible dissolution of the union as an acceptable consequence of Brexit , and when we didn’t know who the Tory leader was going to… Read more »

Leigh Richards
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Leigh Richards

Fraid the British left, as typified by the corbynista dominated momentum, has a blind spot when it comes to Wales and understanding Welsh nationhood.

Roger Smith
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Roger Smith

Clive Lewis wont even get on the ballot paper so don’t get your hopes up….

jr humphrys
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jr humphrys

I saw this. He also advocates a “constitutional convention”, just as does Jonathan Edwards.
It is obvious that progressives together can change things, given recent popular poll results.
Of course, we must overcome The Grey Divide!