First Minister Mark Drakeford will today set out a plan for the fundamental reform of the United Kingdom to secure the long-term future of the union.
He will also set out a positive alternative to the twin forces of nationalism and populism as he delivers the annual Keir Hardie lecture in Merthyr Tydfil tonight.
Speaking at Merthyr Tydfil College tonight, the First Minister will say:
“If we aren’t to succumb to the language of nationalism; if we aren’t to sleepwalk into independence ourselves, we must take up the baton where the UK government itself has dropped it.
“By thinking profoundly about the ways in which that United Kingdom has to remake itself to survive.
“We need an urgent debate to secure fundamental constitutional reform of this United Kingdom towards a fairer, more equitable and more sustainable settlement.”
The Keir Hardie lecture follows the publication of the Welsh Government’s policy document, 'Reforming our union: shared governance in the UK', which sets out a 20-point plan for reforming the union and addressing the constitutional challenges created by Brexit.
The proposals include:
- continued representation for Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England in the House of Commons and a reformed upper House of Parliament with a membership, largely or wholly elected, which takes into account the multi-national character of the union
- the relationship between the four governments should be based on a partnership of equals, in a spirit of mutual respect
- a root and branch reform of the existing inter-governmental mechanisms, including memoranda of understanding, to meet the new challenges of a post-Brexit world
- involvement of devolved administrations in forming the UK government’s policy on international relations and trade
- fair funding across the four UK nations
- membership of the Supreme Court should reflect the make-up of the union
- a constitutional convention to consider future constitutional developments
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“The Welsh Government believes in a strong Wales as part of a strengthened United Kingdom which remains a member of a strengthened European Union.
“But the very future of the United Kingdom as a voluntary association of nations working together in our common interests is now in question as a result of Brexit.
“Reform of the UK constitution is both urgent and vital. This plan sets out the minimum steps we believe are need to strengthen our Union for the future.”
The First Minister will also make a statement about the new policy document to the National Assembly on October 15.