PRIME Minister Theresa May called for all four nations of the UK to come together to secure the best outcome from Brexit at an event in Cardiff today.
Speaking at the Conservative Party’s Spring Forum event this morning Mrs May said the bonds between the nations would strengthen the UK’s negotiating position ahead of leaving the European Union.
The event at the SWALEC stadium was held in conjunction with the Welsh Conservatives’ spring conference.
Calling the union “precious”, Mrs May said: “Our party believes heart and soul in our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” she said.
“The precious bond between four nations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“But that union is more than just a constitutional artefact.
“It is a union between all of our citizens, whoever we are and wherever we’re from.”
The Prime Minister also paid tribute to the work of the Welsh Assembly’s Conservative group, calling leader Andrew RT Davies “the clearest, and without doubt the loudest, voice at Cardiff Bay doing the important work of holding the Labour Government to account”.
“Not so long ago people were quick to write us off here in Wales,” she said.
“I remember those days, people said we couldn’t win here again.
“But you proved them wrong and today we are winning in Wales once more.”
Mrs May, who is expected to trigger Article 50, which begins the process of the UK leaving the European Union, said: “We can only get that deal if we are united, as one United Kingdom, all pulling together to get the best outcome.
“That is what we have always done when faced with challenges.
“We have pulled together as one and succeeded together.”
Saying she wanted to work to “a brighter future for our nation’s children and grandchildren”, the Prime Minister added: “We are four nations, but at heart we are one people.
“As the Prime Minister of this United Kingdom, I will always ensure the voices and interests of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are represented as we negotiate to leave the EU.
“And I will always fight to strengthen and sustain this precious, precious union.”
The event, the third Welsh political conference of the season following Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, also included speeches from leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies and Welsh secretary Alun Cairns, as well as UK Government ministers Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Liam Fox and Justine Greening and a surprise appearance by newly-elected Copeland MP Trudy Harrison.
In his speech Mr Cairns underlined Mrs May’s call for unity.
“The NHS, our armed forces, the BBC, the monarchy, the great British pub, a proper cup of tea, and the British pound, the coins of which are made just up the road at the Royal Mint, these important threads of British culture all contribute to our sense of what being part of the United Kingdom actually means,” he said.
The Vale of Glamorgan MP added: “This innate sense of feeling like you belong to something bigger than yourself is hugely important and has delivered a long-standing and successful union of people, affections and loyalties, something we should never forget.
“But the case for the union is not only emotional, it’s logical, sensible, and practical.
“Put simply, we achieve more together.”
Mr Cairns also slammed nationalist parties such as Plaid Cymru and the SNP, saying: “We mustn’t start constructing barriers where they simply don’t exist, a message so sadly lost on the nationalists.
“In business, in civic society, on the playing field, within your own family, we achieve more together.”
He added: “Here in 2017 we must ask ourselves, are we ready to grab the opportunities ahead? Are we ready to become a truly global trading nation once more?Are we ready to build a stronger union, one that benefits the four great nations of Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland?
“This Prime Minister’s answer is unequivocally yes.”
Welsh Labour will hold the final spring conference of the season in Llandudno next weekend.