Once, Sir Keir Starmer liked to claim that the Welsh Labour government was the ‘blueprint’ the UK. Yet now, like so much else, he has u-turned even on that, declining to repeat the promise when asked repeatedly three months ago. And perhaps that’s no surprise when one considers the record of Mark Drakeford’s ragtime regime in Cardiff Bay, running an economy which grows slower than the cars on the Welsh 20mph-roads. With his country’s NHS in crisis, the First Minister this week offered a revealing insight into his own priorities when grilled in the Senedd chamber.
Drakeford will shortly be standing down from office, amid suggestions that he was ‘squeezed out’ by Starmer. And the socialist sexagenarian clearly doesn’t intend to make life too easy for his good Labour comrade, judging by the answer he gave to a question from Laura Ann Jones. The Tory MS asked Drakeford on Tuesday about gender self-identification :
There are obvious, justified concerns following the Scottish legislation being rushed through and, due to the nature of the United Kingdom, how it will impact women here in Wales, particularly with regard to 16 and 17-year-olds and sex offenders now being allowed to self-ID without medical diagnosis, and the clear and obvious risks that come with that. What conversations have you had with the Scottish and UK Governments on how this legislation will affect us, and will you therefore rule out such legislation in Wales?
To which Drakeford replied:
Well, I’ll certainly not rule out any such legislation, Llywydd [Speaker], nor do I accept that the Scottish Bill was rushed through the Scottish Parliament. I have indeed had an opportunity to hear directly from the Scottish First Minister about the passage of that Bill, and it was very thoroughly and very carefully debated through the Scottish Parliament’s own procedures… We will do as I’ve said, Llywydd: we will seek the powers.