First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford slammed the UK government on Thursday over its engagement with devolved administrations and suggested its current approach is endangering the union.
“There is no institutional architecture to make the United Kingdom work. It is all ad hoc, random, and made up as we go along. And I’m afraid that really is not a satisfactory basis to sustain the future of the UK", Drakeford said, while giving evidence at the UK parliament’s Welsh affairs committee.
He said that the lack of regular meetings with local leaders has threatened the “security of the future of the UK”.
“Without the prime minister playing his part in all of that, I think it undermines the efforts of those of us who want to craft a successful future for the UK", he added.
The head of the Welsh Labour government in Wales warned that the United Kingdom “as it is, is over” and pushed for the formation of a new union arrangement based on a “voluntary association of four nations”.
Drakeford continued by saying that the UK could disappear if they rely solely on the “tweaking of the status quo”, highlighting that the coronavirus pandemic had seen a rise in support for Welsh independence alongside calls for the end of devolution entirely.
“I do think the effect of the pandemic and the last 12 months has been to polarise opinion in Wales about the way it should be governed. We have to create a new union", he told the committee.
The Welsh first minister went on to describe own his relationship with Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “remote”.
"Both in the sense that I’ve met him only once myself – I’ve been at a number of meetings where there’s been large numbers of other people present – and he is yet to call a meeting of the joint ministerial committee of first ministers and himself."
The first minister said that he "had a very modest level of contact with the prime minister. And the remoteness isn’t just in that way; I’m afraid we rarely have a meeting of minds".
Drakeford had his single one-on-one meeting with the PM when he visited Cardiff following the general election and prior to the coronavirus outbreak. The two leaders have had meetings virtually since then.
This comes as the UK has seen increased pressure from the devolved regions threatening independence. In Scotland, separatist sentiment has arisen through the Scottish National Party and polling has consistently shown majority support for withdrawal from the UK.