1. ITV Report

PM's poor tactics put UK at risk claims First Minister

Both Theresa May and Carwyn Jones want to stop the United Kingdom breaking up but don't agree on the tactics or on the principles at stake. Photo: PA

Carwyn Jones has accused the UK government under Theresa May of having what he calls "a complete tin ear" for the challenges of keeping the United Kingdom together.

In an interview for tonight's Sharp End on ITV Cymru Wales, the First Minister has told our Political Editor Adrian Masters that the Prime Minister has made a tactical mistake in refusing a referendum on Scottish independence while the Brexit talks are underway. He also said she's wrong to suggest that she's making a principled stand.

No she's not. I don't think it is for parliament in Westminster to tell an elected government that it can't have a referendum. It's the same as if the European Parliament had said to the UK government 'you can't have a referendum on Brexit'.

Tactically it's a mistake to give the impression that somehow Westminster is preventing the Scottish parliament and people having their say on this. I think that plays into the hands of those that want independence.


Mr Jones also accused the UK government of planning to hang on to all powers brought back from Brussels. He claims that they should be passed on to the devolved administrations whenever they affect matters for which they are responsible. He argues that's the only way to respect the result of the 2011 referendum, which gave the Assembly law-making powers in all devolved areas.

The UK government can't pick and choose which referendum it wants to respect. It's hugely important that those powers, when they return from Brussels, where they're in areas that we already have the responsibilities that they come straight to us.

If Scotland leaves, Whitehall will carry a significant amount of the blame, for not listening. There are ways to resolve this, it's quite simple, we need to set up a structure, a council of ministers if you like, that takes decisions jointly in areas where that makes sense.


The First Minister added that the UK government needed to listen to a government in Wales that is supportive of the union. He said he had no idea what the Prime Minister meant when she said that the United Kingdom is four nations but one people. He wanted four nations working in partnership for the common good but recognising the different identities within the UK.