A Tory minister has rejected Mark Drakeford’s calls for a Welsh home government.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has dismissed a warning from the Prime Minister that interest in independence would only rise in Wales unless the UK government allows the country more autonomy.
Gove told the Financial Times that other people might want to “put energy into this conversation” and added, “I’m focusing on the practice.
He also reiterated the UK government’s determination to use the powers of the Home Market Law to bypass the Senedd.
The Welsh government has condemned the law as a ‘takeover’ because it takes away spending powers that were previously vested in and centralizes them in Westminster. The Senedd voted overwhelmingly against, but was rejected.
Gove’s comments follow Welsh Labor’s victory in the Senedd election, where it won 30 of 60 seats.
His election manifesto called for the federalization of the UK, as well as the devolution of specific powers such as the police and the judiciary.
The Tories, who ran on a platform more aligned with the UK government, won just one more constituency – while two parties vowing to get rid of the Welsh parliament failed to secure any seats.
Gove also revealed that he said he spoke with leaders of the Welsh and Scottish governments following Thursday’s parliamentary elections.
He said: “I had good conversations with the leaders of the decentralized administrations.
“Everyone was convinced that the number one priority for the whole of the UK was to rebuild better and to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. “
He added: “We just have to demonstrate how these institutions work for the benefit of all.
“I prefer that we focus on people’s priorities rather than looking for new areas of abstract debate to enter into.”
Mark Drakeford told the Financial Times that Senedd’s election result had given Wales “leeway” to reform the UK in a way that would give it “real stability”.
“We need a Home Rule for Wales, more power, a position where decentralization cannot be held back by the whim of a prime minister.”
He added that Johnson’s approach “added to the stress and tensions which undoubtedly weighs on the UK”.
He cited the UK government’s Home Market Act as an example.
“The UK government’s action to take powers away from Wales. . . is a recipe for turning the interest in independence for Wales into something more fundamental, ”he added.