THE Labour government in Wales has said Westminster should not block a request for indyref2 backed by an electoral mandate.

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford set out the government’s position in a report on “Reforming our Union”, with a call for debate on the issues raised.

While he said his party would campaign to remain in the Union in any referendum, he warned Westminster that it must accept a request for a referendum if backed by voters and the parliament.

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The report reads: “Although their existence is legally authorised by way of Acts of Parliament, the devolved institutions gained, and retain, their legitimacy by reason of democratic approval.

“If the UK is conceived of as a voluntary association of nations, it must be open to any of its parts democratically to choose to withdraw from the Union.

“If this were not so, a nation could conceivably be bound into the UK against its will, a situation both undemocratic and inconsistent with the idea of a Union based on shared values and interests.

“In the Welsh government’s view, provided that a government in either country has secured an explicit electoral mandate for the holding of a referendum, and enjoys continuing support from its parliament to do so, it is entitled to expect the UK Parliament to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the appropriate arrangements can be made.”

The report went on to say that it would be “unreasonable” for referendums to be held too frequently, but cites Northern Ireland’s provision of a minimum of seven years.

If the same was to apply to Scotland, that would mean indyref2 being held in 2021.

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In the foreword to the document, Drakeford said that he had warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the Union was facing unprecedented strain.

He wrote: “I believe that the Union has not been under greater strain in my lifetime. We cannot and must not avoid an urgent public debate about this.

“The prospect of an imminent General Election and the arrival of a new UK Government makes this all the more timely and necessary.”

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price welcomed Welsh Labour’s stance on a vote, but hit out at the party for defending the Union.

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He said: “There is now no doubt that Wales should be able to hold an independence referendum. It is disappointing – if not surprising – that the Labour Welsh government continues to defend this indefensible Union.

“Any short-term steps that help get Wales indy-ready are welcome. But the Welsh government should concentrate on building the Wales of tomorrow, not saving the Union.

“The fact of the matter is that long-term reform of the UK is futile.

“The pooling and sharing of risks and resources is, frankly, a fanciful idea. Westminster has always been all risk and no reward for Wales.”

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The Welsh government’s report also warned of a lack of protection for devolved powers. It cited the Miller case, which saw the Supreme Court reject claims by the devolved administrations that their parliaments should have to consent to Brexit.

The Sewel Convention means the UK Government does not normally legislate on devolved matters without consent.

However, the report warned that given the judges found this was not “justiciable”, the UK Government’s discretion in deciding on “abnormal” circumstances put devolved matters at risk of interference.