Letter to Theresa May

Hands Off Our Devolution: A Letter to Theresa May

Wales Arts Review, in partnership with Bella Caledonia in Scotland, publishes an open letter to Theresa May in defence of the devolved democracies of Wales and Scotland. Jointly composed by writers Ben Gwalchmai and Patrick McGuinness, the non-partisan #DefendDevolution letter calls on Prime Minister Theresa May, David Lidington MP, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns MP, and Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell MP, to change the course of plans to take back devolved powers from Cardiff Bay and Holyrood. This is an open, live letter, and we are accepting new signatures from artists throughout the week. To add your name, follow the instructions at the bottom of the page.


Dear Theresa May, David Lidington, and Alun Cairns,

We, the artists and artistic platforms of Wales and Scotland, write today to address your actions and urge you to change course.

In your negotiations with the Welsh and Scottish governments, instead of reaching agreement by consensus you have chosen to ignore them. We can see from the leaked memo of Chloe Smith MP to David Lindington as revealed by BBC Scotland, that your government’s intention has been made clear. You will claim for yourselves 24 areas of governmental control that are currently the remit of the Welsh & Scottish Governments. You will do so without agreement or legal basis. You will steal from Wales & Scotland. This was never part of ‘taking back control’ – this is you taking control over us in ways that directly contravene the principles of devolution, and go against your own promises.

Our First Ministers and opposition leaders have called this a ‘power grab’. They’re right, but that doesn’t go far enough: this is a betrayal. A betrayal of the democratic votes taken for devolution and of the peoples of the devolved nations. It is a betrayal of democracy.

This action by your government is not an isolated incident. Since the last election, you have broken many promises to Wales. When you said the railways would be electrified West of Cardiff, Theresa May personally cancelled it. When you promised a decision on the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, you have not made a decision. When the Welsh Government worked to get rid of the tolls on the Severn Crossing bridges, you claimed it as your own success. The current Conservatives have broken many vows to Scotland – where you have apparently forgotten, we remember The Vow.

These are a just a few examples of a process of connected depredations that stem from an unbalanced system in which Wales and Scotland come last, and where both countries are sacrificed to the unity of a Conservative party that we didn’t vote for and which rules the UK by the skin of its teeth. You think you are papering over the crisis of democratic legitimacy, but you are making that crisis all the more evident.

We urge you to change direction and to respect the devolution settlements of Scotland and Wales.



Latest Signatures
176 Brigid Haines Apr 24, 2018
175 Tom Matthews Apr 24, 2018
174 Elinor Wyn Reynolds Apr 24, 2018
173 Emyr Young Apr 24, 2018
172 Michael Sheen Apr 24, 2018
171 Kevin McGrath Apr 20, 2018
170 Gwenfair Hawkins Apr 13, 2018
169 Rhys Jones Apr 13, 2018
168 Ashley McNally Apr 13, 2018
167 Julian Hughes-Watts (Trisant) Apr 13, 2018
166 Mary Shaw Apr 13, 2018
165 Kaite O'Reilly Apr 13, 2018
164 Ifan Jones Apr 13, 2018
163 Sharon Eckman Apr 13, 2018
162 Kenneth Pitson Apr 10, 2018
161 Roger Price Apr 10, 2018
160 John Osmond Apr 10, 2018
159 Dr Daniel Hughes Apr 10, 2018
158 Chang-Soo Kim Apr 10, 2018
157 Vivien Bartlett Apr 09, 2018
156 Sheelagh Davis Apr 09, 2018
155 Margaret Smith Apr 09, 2018
154 Jo Rihan Apr 09, 2018
153 Richard Noyce Apr 09, 2018
152 Gwyn Parry Apr 09, 2018
151 Alan Holmes Apr 09, 2018
150 Robert King Apr 09, 2018
149 Helen Noble Apr 09, 2018
148 Anton Farmer Apr 09, 2018
147 Eira Gaunt Apr 09, 2018
146 Marcas Mac an Tuairneir Apr 09, 2018
145 Colin Lloyd Apr 09, 2018
144 Harry Smart Apr 08, 2018
143 Molly Heaton Apr 08, 2018
142 Steffan Ellis Apr 08, 2018
141 Dominic Williams Apr 08, 2018
140 Chris Priest Apr 08, 2018
139 Owain Lewis-Han Apr 08, 2018
138 Chris Paul Apr 08, 2018
137 Yvonne Murphy Apr 08, 2018
136 Lindsey Colbourne Apr 08, 2018
135 Erica Eirian Apr 08, 2018
134 Rhodri Owen Apr 08, 2018
133 Sion Eirian Apr 08, 2018
132 Siwan Rhys Apr 08, 2018
131 Graham Crowley Apr 08, 2018
130 Nia Davies Apr 08, 2018
129 Sian Roberts Apr 08, 2018
128 Tim Price Apr 08, 2018
127 Kevin Lewis Apr 08, 2018

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Letter to Theresa May