May and 30 other current Tory MPs tried to ignore Welsh Assembly referendum result

Critics have said this undermines May's claim to care about the 'will of the people'

Theresa May was scheduled to say in a speech today that the result of the 1997 referendum on the Welsh Assembly was universally accepted – which is untrue as she herself voted to ignore the referendum’s result.

In fact, Theresa May and 30 other current Tory MPs voted against the creation of the Welsh Assembly in December 1997 despite the new body being approved by a referendum just three months earlier.

As late as 2005, the Conservative Party offered a second referendum on the Welsh Assembly in its election manifesto.

So the following extract of the speech she was (according to the Financial Times) planning to give in Stoke today is untrue.

“On the rare occasions when Parliament puts a question to the British people directly we have always understood that their response carries a profound significance.”

“When the people of Wales voted by a margin of 0.3%, on a turnout of just over 50%, to endorse the creation of the Welsh Assembly, that result was accepted by both sides and the popular legitimacy of that institution has never seriously been questioned.”

She then planned to use the Welsh Assembly example to argue that the 2016 European Union referendum result must be respected.

Many of the Tory MPs who tried to block the Welsh Assembly in Parliament and offer a second referendum on it are now opposing a second referendum on Brexit.

Some of the now senior MPs who tried to block the Welsh Assembly in Parliament in 1997 include Theresa May, David Davis, Iain Duncan Smith, Philip Hammond and Liam Fox.

Others are now prominent members of the pro no-deal European Research Group including Bernard Jenkin, Crispin Blunt, Christopher Chope, Michael Fabricant and John Whittingdale.

Afer New Statesman writer Stephen Bush pointed this out on Twitter, Plaid Cymru’s ex-leader Leanne Wood criticised Theresa May.

This is not the first time, the Tories have been accused of false statements.

Last week, energy minister Claire Perry had to backtrack after claiming Labour didn’t introduce the minimum wage.

Update: This article originally said there were 32 current Tory MPs. This was updated to 31 current Tory MPs as John Bercow is now speaker and therefore not a Tory MP.

Joe Lo is a freelance journalist and reporter for Left Foot Forward.

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