Welsh First Minister: Tory attitude to devolution risks ‘unravelling’ of UK

The Tories’ “grace and favour” attitude towards devolution could put the future of the UK in jeopardy, the Welsh First Minister has said.

Mark Drakeford condemned the Conservatives for their “arrogance”, and warned that it could lead to the “unravelling” of the UK.

Describing the United Kingdom as a “voluntary association” between its four constituent nations, the Welsh First Minister insisted: “In the end it is the so-called unionists who pose the greatest threat to the union of the United Kingdom.

“It is their arrogance and their taken-for-granted assumptions that they have a right to be in charge of the rest of us that risks the unravelling of the United Kingdom to which this party is genuinely committed.”

Mr Drakeford, speaking at the Scottish Labour Party conference in Dundee, stressed that Labour was a “dedicated devolutionist party”.

He said: “While Labour in Wales is committed to devolution, we are at the same time a party which firmly believes Wales’ future is best secured through a successful United Kingdom.”

The Welsh First Minister continued: “It is this combination of powerful devolution on the one hand and the commitment to the wider United Kingdom on the other that gives the Labour Party our most distinctive offer.

“And it is in such powerful contrast to what others put in front of the people of Scotland and Wales. Despite the fact that devolution has been with us for 20 years, scratch the surface of the Conservative Party and its instinctive hostility to Wales and Scotland quickly emerges.

“Theirs is a grace-and-favour version of devolution, in which London always remain supreme, in which powers are given, not won in a referendum, and that can equally and easily be taken away.

“It is the Labour Party which understands that the United Kingdom is a voluntary association, a voluntary union for four nations.

“A union in which sovereignty no longer rests exclusively in a single UK Parliament but is dispersed to new centres of political authority and responsibility where those powers now rest.”

Read Full Story