A Labour Senedd Member has said that Welsh statehood is an “option” that needs exploring as the country discusses its constitutional future.
Mick Antoniw, the Member of the Senedd for Pontypridd, made the comment in a discussion with an independence supporter about Keir Starmer’s speech on devolution at the start of the week.
In the speech, the Labour leader in Westminster, promised to “push as much power as possible away from Westminster” in an attempt to stem the rise in support for Scottish independence which is at a record level of 58 per cent according to the latest poll.
Starmer insisted that the UK was a “moral force for good in the world” and lambasted supporters of independence as “separatists”.
When it was suggested to Mr Antoniw, who supports the idea of a federal UK, that his preference was not “remotely feasible” and that it would be better to “aim for statehood”, Antoniw replied that it was “certainly one of the options.”
He said: “Listening to Starmer’s speech in Scotland. A starting point only. Importance is need for English devolution. Bigger challenge must be establishing distributed sovereignty for the four nations which will require radical reform of UK Parliament also.”
Independence supporter Arwyn Lloyd replied: “With all due respect how is this remotely feasible? You have a jingoistic Tory party with a huge majority which stood on a ticket of Westminster’s sovereignty on one hand.
“On the other the SNP enjoying repeated polls closing in on 60% in favour of independence.
“The political landing space for this proposal is vanishingly small. Who wants it? Where’s the mandate?
“Better to aim for statehood all round and build a British Council for negotiating common rules & shared interests eg common travel area, right to work etc.”
Mr Antoniw said: “That is certainly one of the options. What is important is that we determine in Wales what our relationship will be.”
After listening to the specch Professor Richard Wyn Jones, Director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, described the “lack of substance” as “telling” and was scathing about the UK Labour leader ignoring “the very existence of the Welsh Government.”