A TORY Lord has claimed the Union is "based on affection" between the nations.

Speaking during a parliamentary debate on safeguarding the Union, life peer Daniel Moylan insisted the nations of the UK are "attracted to each other" and choose to stay together because of "the affection that exists".

He made the comments after he claimed Wales was in the grip of "linguistic fascism" amid the rapid rise of Welsh language speakers.

He insisted language – which is a devolved matter – "was a tool for promoting nationalist sentiment”, adding he was "deeply concerned" about what was happening in the country. 

Critics branded his remarks "high-handed" as Moylan cited the example of Sinn Fein’s promotion of the Irish language in Northern Ireland.

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Moylan said: “We remain a voluntary union and that voluntary union is essentially based on affection. We are attracted to each other.

“The fact we choose to stay together is because of the affection that exists. Not coercion but affection. That is our strength and that is what we need to build on.”

Turning to the issue of language, he told peers: “It is a sensitive subject but we shouldn’t be too sensitive about discussing it.

“There is no doubt, and Sinn Fein will appreciate this, that the use of language is a tool for promoting national nationalist sentiment.”

Sparking cries of dissent, he then said he did not wish to find the UK "out of touch" in the future in the middle of a Welsh independence referendum, as he believed happened with Scotland in 2014. 

“When I look at Wales and see the almost linguistic fascism that now exists in parts of it, I am deeply concerned that we will find ourselves, on some occasion in the future, in a situation rather like we were with Scotland in 2014, when, half way through the referendum campaign, we realised that unionism might lose the referendum, so out of touch we were," said Moylan.

"I do not want to see something like that happen in Wales.”

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Baroness Humphreys, who is deputy leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “I really object to the term language fascism.

“People fail to understand that Wales is a bilingual nation and people have the right to use their first language, whichever language that is, or both languages if they want to.”

Tory frontbencher Lord Cameron of Lochiel, who was making his maiden speech at the despatch box, said: “In relation to the Welsh language, I would like to be clear that the UK Government fully supports the Welsh government’s aim of there being one million speakers of Welsh by 2050.

"The Welsh language is devolved but the UK Government is committed to supporting the promotion and use of the Welsh language in Wales.”