Welsh Secretary says there’s no ‘common ground’ between him and Drakeford
The Welsh Secretary has said that he doesn’t think there’s “any common ground” between him and Mark Drakeford.
Simon Hart believes there’s a “fundamental difference of opinion” because the First Minister’s approach to saving the union involves devolving more power to Wales.
He told The i Newspaper: “Drakeford’s pitch is that the Union can only survive if we devolve more powers to Cardiff. That’s a fundamental difference of opinion. I don’t think there is any common ground between us.”
Hart argued the UK Government should not be complacent about the rise in support for independence in Wales, which has hit an all time high of 35%.
He said: “We’re where Scotland was 15 years ago in polling terms so anybody who says to me, ‘It’ll never happen because it’s such a low number’ I just say ‘Yeah, that’s what they said in Scotland 15 years ago and, and maybe we should be doing now in Wales what we wish we’d done in Scotland 15 years ago.’”
The Welsh Secretary was also critical of previous attempts by unionists to focus on the possible financial implications of independence, which were seen in some quarters as belittling.
He said: “We possibly we got the tone wrong. I think the argument we have to have to make it goes far deeper than just talking about the money.”
“We have to make a very good and respectful argument as to why [independence] isn’t inevitable. I think just sitting back and thinking, it’s not going happen would be a mistake.
“I think we have to work hard to explain why the Union is a good place to be for Wales, and doesn’t in any way compromise national identity or patriotism.”
“You don’t have to have a flag to be a unionist and you don’t have to be a unionist to have a flag.