Home » News » Welsh Leader Mark Drakeford Warns of Eroded British Unity Under Conservative Governments

Welsh Leader Mark Drakeford Warns of Eroded British Unity Under Conservative Governments

Enrique Rubio

London, Feb 29 (EFE).- British unity is eroded after 14 years of conservative governments, according to the leader of Wales, Mark Drakeford, who believes that there is a risk of division if the central power in London does not adapt to the reality.

Just three weeks after leaving his position as Welsh Prime Minister, which he has held since 2018, Labor’s Drakeford met with a group of international media (including EFE) to take stock of his five years at the helm of that historic territory of the Kingdom. United and warn about fragmentation in the country.

“If the union fails, it will be the fault of people who call themselves unionists, because they have acted in many ways that erode confidence in the union,” said Drakeford, 69, who is retiring on his own initiative.

The Welsh leader acknowledged that in his historic nation – one of the four that make up the United Kingdom – voices are heard in favor of independence “that would not have been heard a couple of decades ago”, although he recalled that the majority of public opinion supports permanence in the country.

Convinced that Wales’ place is within the United Kingdom, he asked that unity be defended with positive arguments that persuade citizens, and not with prohibitions or impositions.

“You can’t have a union that only stays together because some people feel they can’t leave, or because even if they wanted to leave, they are told there is no way to do so,” he said, in a tacit reference to Scotland.

In his opinion, the majority of the Conservative Party thinks that, with the crisis of the SNP independence supporters in Scotland, the danger to British unity has ended: “That is very stupid; it will only increase the risks instead of reducing them.”

And, looking at Ireland, he recalled that “it is not an unreasonable speculation” to think that there could be a government of the independence Sinn Féin in both Belfast and Dublin, so “anyone who thinks about leaving the ‘status quo’ alone without giving it Pay attention, he’s burying his head in the sand.

For Drakeford, since 2019 (when Boris Johnson came to power), successive ‘Tory’ governments in London have failed to comply with the decentralization pact of powers that was respected by previous both Conservative and Labor cabinets.

Therefore, the priority for a future Labor Government, if the polls that give victory to that party’s candidate, Keir Starmer, in this year’s elections are true, should be to legally protect the transferred powers.

And secondly, he advocated that Wales can enjoy unilateral rights to join international programs designed for regions, such as those of the European Union (EU) or UNESCO.

Precisely, regarding the EU, the chief minister expressed his hope that a possible Starmer Executive would “restart relations” after Brexit, although he considered that the speed with which this is done will depend largely on the size of the victory. that you can obtain in the elections.

Despite ensuring that he understands that the Labor leader avoids the European issue to prevent the conservatives from using it as a weapon, he advocated for a new commercial and economic relationship with the EU that does not impose so many barriers on Welsh exporters, as well as reintroducing the Kingdom United in programs such as Erasmus Plus or public health.

Drakeford, from the left wing of Labor and who supported former leader Jeremy Corbyn, predicts that Starmer will be a “much stronger than people believe” head of government and that his virtues will be better expressed as prime minister than at the head of the opposition.

Looking back, Drakeford, who had to pilot Wales during the pandemic and suffered the death of his wife a year ago, regrets one thing: “Not having gone far enough or being daring enough.”

“If you do this job, you’re usually surrounded by cautious advice. And sometimes you get talked into and you don’t go as far as you would have liked. When I look back and regret things, it’s usually because I wasn’t as bold or decisive in doing things. radical things I could have done in the short time I had the opportunity,” he reflects. EFE


2024-03-01 00:00:00
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