WELCOMING the launch of a new report calling for reform of the UK’s constitution on “radical federalist lines”, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said:
“It is the best part of a decade since the former First Minister, Carwyn Jones, called for a constitutional convention. Some ideas turn out to have a very long fuse, but Carwyn’s efforts to keep that simple proposition alive have borne fruit in this new report.
“And a solution is urgently needed. The breakup of the United Kingdom is a real and present danger.
“Independence is a 19th century response to a 21st century problem. It is a slogan not a solution.
“Those of us who believe that Wales’ future is best secured through a powerful and entrenched devolution settlement, within a successful United Kingdom, have to lead that argument.
“It cannot be a defence of the status quo. It cannot be a surrender to the simplicities of Unionism or Nationalism. It has, instead to be a radical redrawing of the United Kingdom.
“What we have to create is a new union – and this paper gives us many of the ideas which will be straightforwardly necessary if that project is to succeed. It is based on the simple but profoundly radical proposition that the United Kingdom is a voluntary association of four nations, where sovereignty is dispersed amongst four democratically elected legislatures.
“As much as possible, decisions which affect people’s daily lives should be made as close to the people as possible, but where the component parts of the United Kingdom choose to come together to pool resources and to share rewards, then that is also a powerful part of the deal.
“That is why I believe in the potential of the United Kingdom as a powerful engine of redistribution, putting a greater and fairer share of wealth and income into the hands of those who most need it – in whatever part of the United Kingdom that might be.”