Politics

UK crumbling: Welsh independence SURGE as PM warned he’s ‘sleepwalking’ to Union collapse

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Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford made the remarks when giving evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee today. Recent polling has suggested Welsh independence is gaining support, but is still not backed by a majority of those surveyed.

Mr Drakeford said the Prime Minister’s “instinctive” hostility to the devolution settlement was fuelling support for independence in Wales.

He then told the House of Lords Constitution Committee the Welsh Government was a “rather vanishing creature”, in that it still believed in the UK.

In a warning to Mr Johnson, the First Minister said: “The state of the Union is under the greatest pressure it has ever been in my political lifetime.

“In the current UK Government we face for the first time in the history of devolution a Government that is instinctively hostile to devolution.”

Referencing Mr Johnson’s alleged remarks in November 2020, where reports said he called the devolution of powers a “disaster”, Mr Drakeford suggested the Prime Minister could see the break-up of the UK.

The Prime Minister denied making the remarks last year, saying reports were “not entirely accurate”.

Mr Drakeford continued: “The Prime Minister told Conservative backbenchers that devolution was the greatest mistake of the Blair government.

“The actions of his administration bear the hallmark of that. The confrontational approach, the approach of muscular Unionism, aggressively unilateral in the way it goes about things.

“We are sleepwalking, if we are not careful, into the end of the Union as we know it.”

Mr Drakeford also suggested the actions of the Government were making it increasingly difficult for him to make the case for the Union in Wales.

He said: “Every single day they create new tensions between us and go on persuading a growing sector of opinion in Wales that Wales will be better off outside the Union.”

The First Minister has frequently clashed with the Prime Minister over responses to the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

On Tuesday, Mr Drakeford said it was “disappointing” Mr Johnson failed to explain rules changes he announced on Monday only applied to England.

Earlier on Wednesday, one Conservative MP told Express.co.uk Mr Drakeford was “a clown”, while another called him “a total weirdo”.

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In April, pollsters Savanta ComRes carried out a survey on Welsh independence and found a slim majority of support for staying in the Union.

The pollsters found 42 percent of those surveyed would vote for Welsh independence in a referendum.

However, 49 percent would vote ‘No’ to Welsh independence in a referendum and 8 percent were undecided.

The survey was carried out from April 23 to April 28, with 1,002 respondents.

Earlier in July, Mr Drakeford also said in July the UK has “never been this fragile”.

Constitution Minister Mick Antoniw also admitted a future independence referendum and the concept of an independent Wales was “on the table”.

He said on July 4 “we are facing a situation where the structures of the UK are not fit for purpose”.

The Welsh Government recently detailed it’s 20-point ‘Reforming Our Union’ plan, which argues England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must be based on a partnership of equals, and calls for the creation of an independent body to oversee how “fair” funding is allocated across the nations.

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