Westminster’s power grab over water a ‘worrying echo’ of Tryweryn
The Westminster Government’s intention to give itself powers over Welsh water infrastructure through the Internal Market Bill is a worrying echo of the flooding of Tryweryn, Plaid Cymru has said.
The drowning of the Capel Celyn village in the Tryweryn valley in 1965 to create a reservoir to supply Liverpool and the Wirral remains a significant historical and cultural event in Wales.
The village was drowned in 1965 despite every Welsh MP but one voting against it.
In recent years the ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ [Remember Tryweryn] mural in Llanrhystud, mid-Wales, has re-emerged as a significant symbol, with replicas appearing across Wales.
The Internal Market Bill currently being pushed through the UK Parliament would see the Westminster government gaining spending powers in entirely devolved areas, bypassing democratically elected Members of the Senedd. These powers include water infrastructure.
Plaid Westminster Leader Liz Saville Roberts MP said the fact Westminster wants to take powers over water infrastructure shows “a shocking level of historical ignorance”. She went on to say that the drowning of Capel Celyn serves as a reminder of what happens when “Westminster holds the whip hand over Wales.”
Westminster Government Ministers have also admitted that the Bill will break international law in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is contained within Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.
The Internal Market Bill will face its first Parliamentary vote today. Plaid Cymru, alongside the SNP, Liberal Democrats, SDLP, Greens and Alliance have tabled an amendment seeking to stop the Bill progressing any further. The Labour Party has not indicated if it will join with other opposition parties in opposing the Bill.
Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP said:
“We can see the enduring significance of Welsh control over water by the continuing prominence of ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ – Remember Tryweryn murals and images across Wales. The Internal Market Bill’s attempt to snatch powers over this issue is a worrying echo of that infamous drowning of Capel Celyn by Westminster, against the wishes of Wales.
“We know this Bill will break international law, put the Good Friday Agreement at risk, and smash the devolution settlement, but the historical ignorance to seek powers over Welsh water infrastructure is shocking.
“Although over four decades ago, the drowning of Capel Celyn remains at the forefront of the Welsh national memory, serving as a reminder of what happens when Westminster holds the whip hand over Wales.
“Westminster seems intent on not only undermining our devolution settlement, but to show a shameless disregard for our culture and history.
“Plaid Cymru will oppose this Bill every step of the way.”