Article written by Andrew RT Davies – Leader of the Welsh Conservatives:
In recent months we’ve heard a lot about the constitution and a lot about the future of the Union.
It won’t come as a surprise to many but I’m a proud Welshman, Unionist and Conservative. I view myself as all three and make no apology for doing so.
I’m a Welshman who is incredibly proud of Wales’ history, our contribution to the UK and our global success.
A Wales that consistently punches above its weight on the sporting scene, providing some of the greatest ever British Lions from Gareth Edwards to Sam Warburton, and one of Britain’s greatest ever Paralympians, Tanni-Grey Thompson.
A Wales that was home to Aneurin Bevan, the man who oversaw the establishment of our NHS, which to this day provides medical care free at point-of-need to all Brits.
A Wales that that is playing a key role on the pandemic frontline in delivering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through Wrexham-based firm Wockhardt.
I’m also a proud Brit and believer in the Union. For me, being a supporter of the Union is not to be disloyal to Wales.
In fact it’s the complete opposite, as we have seen throughout the course of the pandemic. Indeed, to be pro-Union is to be pro-Wales.
Pro-Wales as the Union and the UK Government has supported nearly 400,000 Welsh jobs through the furlough scheme.
Pro-Wales as the Union and UK Government has supported 100,000 people through self-employment income.
Pro-Wales as the Union and UK Government has delivered £5.2bn of Covid19 support funding to the Welsh Government.
And most importantly pro-Wales, where the UK Government’s hugely successful vaccination scheme has seen us jab more of our citizens than other countries in Europe combined, and in doing so saving more and more Welsh lives every day.
This wouldn’t have been possible if we had followed the path advocated by the Labour Party or the Welsh nationalists who were insistent on us joining the EU programme or going it alone.
If we had listened to them, we’d now be in the same state of disarray as we are seeing across Europe, led by the hapless Ursula von der Leyen.
It comes as nothing as a surprise that during the pandemic Plaid Cymru have banged the constitutional drum as they are the party of division and separation. They do what it says on the tin.
But it’s Welsh Labour’s abandonment of the United Kingdom for political gain that is causing most confusion and division.
Wales’ First Minister doesn’t just talk constitutions, he talks like the UK is already dead. He only needs to reflect on the support the Union has provided during this crisis to see how wrong he is.
Regrettably, the Labour leader has opted to pursue this divisive nationalism. You only have to look at the arguments over the UK Internal Market Bill. All Labour blabbered on about was a power grab and undermining devolution.
Not a single word about the sixty odd extra powers that the UK Government had repatriated from Europe and was giving directly to Wales after fulfilling the will of the people of Wales to leave the EU.
Not a single word about the potential for significant future infrastructure investment in Wales.
When it suits, Labour claim they are a unionist party but at the same time select three pro-independence candidates for this May’s Senedd election.
And on that theme, Mark Drakeford will move Labour more and more into a space where they will openly contemplate breaking up the United Kingdom. They call it Indy Curious – I call it Indy Dangerous. That’s who Welsh Labour are now.
That’s why I will never apologise for championing the Union and Wales. It’s under attack not just from separatists but socialists who aren’t as inept as Jeremy Corbyn when it comes to securing power, and who will do anything to cling onto it and inflict more misery on the Welsh people, even if that means breaking up the UK.
Going into May’s election, there will be only one mainstream party standing on a ticket of delivering for the people of Wales in a strong United Kingdom. And that’s the one I lead.
Over half a million people in Wales voted Conservative in the 2019 general election and we must do everything we can to inspire all these people to turn out on May 6th as there’s so much at stake.
To do that we’ll need the support of the bedrock of our party – each and every Conservative member and volunteer. We’ll need your help, be it picking up the phone, or when restrictions allow, delivering leaflets or knocking doors.
Every vote counts and will help us send a message to Labour. No new taxes. No new powers. No new constitutional chaos. Instead, more jobs. Better hospitals. First class schools. That’s our pledge to the people of Wales.
Our candidates are united in backing Wales and backing the UK. As such our energies will be solely focused on improving everyday lives and rebuilding our economy – not the quirky obsessions of the Cardiff Bay bubble.
So let’s unite and back Wales this May. Back Britain. And back the Welsh Conservatives to build back our country better than ever before.