THE SNP have said the Tories are responsible for “completely undermining” the Union after the Welsh First Minister criticised an “outright hostility” towards devolution.

During an evidence session at the Welsh Affairs Committee, Mark Drakeford, right, said the United Kingdom “is over” and a new union should be crafted to reflect a “voluntary association of four nations”.

He also condemned the UK Government’s approach of bypassing the devolved governments through levelling up funds.

He stated that: “For the first time since devolution, we are dealing with a UK Government which is aggressively unilateral ... and that there is outright hostility to the fact of devolution at the heart of the Government ... and a belief that the best way to deal with [devolution] is to bypass it, to marginalise it, to act as if devolution didn’t exist.”

The Tory Government confirmed plans to sideline the devolved governments and instead enable Westminster to dictate funding over key areas, such as regeneration and transport, rather than passing on Barnett consequentials to the devolved governments.

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Drakeford added that the break-up of the UK was possible if politicians only offered a “tweaking of the status quo”, and said Boris Johnson’s lack of engagement with the devolved nations undermined efforts to keep them together.

He told MPs a new devolution settlement was needed after the pandemic had caused a rise in polarised opinions about Wales’ future,

including support for Welsh independence as well as for abolishing devolution.

The Welsh First Minister called for “an entrenched form of devolution which cannot be unilaterally rolled back by any one party”, and one that “could not be interfered with in the way we have seen so vividly in recent months”.

He said the “relatively random basis” on which the UK Government engages with the devolved Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland administrations “is not a satisfactory basis to sustain the future of the United Kingdom”.

“There is no institutional architecture to make the United Kingdom work,” he said.

“It is all ad-hoc, random, and made up as we go along. And I’m afraid that really is not a satisfactory basis to sustain the future of the UK.

“And if I have an anxiety about the lack of regular engagement between the Prime Minister and other parts of the UK, it is more that I think without that then the security of the future of the UK becomes more difficult.

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“Without the Prime Minster playing his part in all of that, I think it undermines the efforts of those of us – and I include myself certainly in this – who want to craft a successful future for the UK.”

Drakeford additionally described his relationship with the Prime Minister as “remote”.

“Both in the sense that I’ve met him only once myself – I’ve been at a number of meetings where there’s been large numbers of other people present – and he is yet to call a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee of first ministers and himself,” he said.

“In that sense I would say I’ve had a very modest level of contact with the Prime Minister. And the remoteness isn’t just in that way, I’m afraid we rarely have a meeting of minds.”

The SNP’s shadow Wales secretary Richard Thomson said: “The blistering remarks from the Welsh First Minister highlights the Tory Government’s utter disdain for devolution.

“The simple fact is that the Westminster Tory Government is responsible for completely undermining devolution and the Union it claims to be in support of.

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“The Tories’ so-called Levelling Up Fund is a Trojan Horse attempt to bypass devolution, ignore the devolved governments, and to instead dictate funding over devolved areas as it sees fit.

“Any funding for Scotland should be passed to the Scottish Government to administer on behalf of the people of Scotland.

“It’s clear beyond any doubt that the only way to properly protect our interests and Parliament is to become an independent country.”