THE Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, has confirmed that the Welsh Government gave its full backing ‘from the outset’ to renaming the Second Severn Crossing to the Prince of Wales Bridge.
The bridge renaming has caused significant controversy in Wales, with almost 40,000 people signing a petition against the move. Protests have also been held in Wales and the United States, calling for the Welsh people to be consulted on the bridge’s name.
Neil McEvoy, Independent Assembly Member for South Wales Central, wrote to the Secretary of State at the beginning of April, calling for the renaming to be cancelled and for a full consultation to take place.
Mr McEvoy also delivered a topical question to ask for a statement on the Welsh Government’s role in the bridge renaming. The Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Ken Skates AM, stated that the UK Government wrote to the First Minister in September 2017 and “the First Minister did not object to the proposal”.
However, in the Secretary of State’s letter to Mr McEvoy, he claims he ‘corresponded regularly with the Welsh Government’ over the course of a full year. He goes on to say that the ‘Welsh Government has given its full backing to this decision from the outset’.
Since that time Labour and Conservative Assembly Members voted together against a Plaid Cymru motion in the National Assembly that called for the UK Government to launch a consultation on the name change.
Neil McEvoy AM said: “I wrote to the Secretary of State for Wales in the hope that Welsh people could be consulted on the bridge name. The 40,000 people who have been ignored by the Welsh Government wanted something that reflected the modern, confident democracy we’re trying to build.
“But it’s now become clear that Labour and the Conservatives are working together to stop our country from being asked on the name of the main gateway into our country.
“I’ll be writing to the Presiding Officer to determine whether the Cabinet Secretary has misled the Assembly. Claiming the Welsh Government did not raise any objections is very different to being regularly consulted over the course of a year and giving full backing from the outset.
“I’ve also submitted a Freedom of Information request for correspondence between the two governments so we can find out who is telling the truth.”