JONATHAN Edwards MP has today blasted a Conservative MP who was heard mocking the Welsh accent in the House of Commons this week.
The incident took place on Monday (12 November) during a parliamentary debate on the Finance Bill where the Plaid Cymru Treasury Spokesperson intervened on the Minister to question the UK’s economic growth forecasts.
Conservative MP for Spelthorne in Surrey, Kwasi Kwarteng – a former student at Eton College and the University of Cambridge – was allegedly overheard mocking the Welsh accent by opposition MPs in the Commons chamber as Jonathan Edwards was speaking. Mr Kwarteng is Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Today Mr Edwards raised a Point of Order with the Speaker of the House in which he said:
“Diolch yn fawr iawn, Mr Speaker.
“I’m extremely grateful to you for accepting this Point of Order. During the debate on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill yesterday, it was brought to my attention that a fellow Member of this House, rather than engaging with the substance of the issue being discussed, chose to make disparaging remarks about my accent.
“This is unfortunately not the first incident of this kind in this place. There was a well-documented incident a few weeks ago involving a Scottish Member of Parliament, Mr Speaker.
“This House is meant to be representative of all the nations, accents and backgrounds of the British state, and this kind of behaviour only serves to reinforce the privileged and exclusive perception of Westminster politics.
“Mocking an accent is a very serious matter, as it ultimately undermines an individual’s or a group of people’s identity. I would like to seek your advice as to whether this behaviour, that of a Member mocking an accent of another Member of this House is befitting of this place? Can I put on record, Mr Speaker, that I am extremely proud to be Welsh and of my accent?”
Speaking after his Point of Order, Carmarthen East & Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards said:
“I’m deeply proud of my birthplace in the Amman Valley and the accent I have. Indeed I am immensely proud of the diverse accents and dialects we have right across our nation.
“Unfortunately this is the type of attitude sums up exactly how Westminster politicians treat the Wales and our people – even those like me who have a democratic mandate, equal to any MP in Parliament, to represent my home communities.
“The Conservative party needs to condemn and stamp out all attempts to attack opposition MPs on the basis of their background and nationality.
“The mask is slipping, and what Westminster really thinks of us is becoming clearer by the day.
“I make no apology for being Welsh, and I won’t allow a Tory MP from the Home Counties to prevent me or any other person from having a voice.”