Wales politics

Scotland referendum: Carwyn Jones calls for reformed UK

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Media captionFirst Minister Carwyn Jones said the UK needed 'fixing'

First Minister Carwyn Jones has said he fears for Wales' future if Scotland votes for independence.

He was visiting Scotland on Tuesday to speak in support of the union after opinion polls put the two sides in next week's referendum neck-and-neck.

The three main UK parties have all proposed extra powers for Scotland if its people vote to stay in the UK.

But former Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley said Wales should have confidence to push for independence.

Mr Jones has urged the people of Scotland to reject independence and help "rebuild" the UK.

Asked if he feared the impact of a yes vote, Mr Jones said: "Yes, I do."

He said Scotland brought "balance" to the UK, and its population "seems a lot bigger" than Wales' "because of the weight it carries in the UK".

Scotland's population is 5.3m, while Wales' is 3.1m.

He added: "With Scotland gone, a lot of work would need to be done in order to make sure what is left was stable going forward. You'd have a very big nation in England, and two much smaller nations in Wales and Northern Ireland.

"You have to work out what it would be called, work out what flag it uses. These things can be done, but I come back to the point: why do you need to do that? Why do you need to take the risk?"

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Media captionWelsh Secretary Stephen Crabb says we are all 'stakeholders' in Scotland's big decision

Mr Jones accepted it had taken time for the pro-union parties to agree on "a common way forward", and called again for a constitutional convention to discuss the UK's future.

In an earlier interview on BBC Radio Wales, he said: "It's not all about fear... there is a positive alternative vision for Scotland."

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies also called on Scottish voters to support the UK as a "positive example of social, economic and national union".

"Everyone can celebrate their own nationality but also get the strengths that the union has brought for the last 300 years," he said.

"We should be celebrating that and emphasising what exactly is on offer for the next 300 years of the most successful economic and social union the world has ever seen."

'Wider debate'

The former Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley said Wales should have the same confidence as Scotland in pushing for independence.

"If I was a Scot I most certainly would be voting yes because that's the only way they will have control over the future well being of their country and not to be subservient to the needs of London and particularly the city of London from now to infinitum," he told BBC Radio Wales.

He said if the Scots missed this chance to vote for independence they would "live to regret it".

Lord Wigley added: "We have got to get the political clout if we are going to get a fair deal for Wales whatever the outcome of this referendum and that is a central message."

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Media captionWhat will a Scottish yes vote mean for Wales, which voted for devolution 15 years ago

Meanwhile deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said greater devolution in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must follow the handing of greater power to Scotland if the referendum result goes against independence.

Mr Clegg told MPs: "I don't think anyone should imagine that we can embark upon a new chapter of very significant devolution of further powers to Scotland without having a wider debate about how we decentralise power more generally across the United Kingdom."

"The big missing bit of that jigsaw is to explore how we can decentralise the British state within England," he said.

Analysis by Vaughan Roderick, Welsh affairs editor

It is absolutely neck-and-neck and both sides are throwing everything they've got at this contest.

Carwyn Jones might not sway many votes - but it might not take many votes to secure a victory for one side or another.

It's interesting to see who his speech is aimed at - he's talking about the spirit of the 1945 Labour government, the miners strike, and Margaret Thatcher.

This is a message aimed at Labour voters in Scotland, and it's Labour voters who appear to have been crossing to the Yes campaign in the last few days.

As the most senior Labour elected politician anywhere in the UK, the No campaign obviously feel Carwyn Jones can possibly reach out to some of those people. Certainly, from their point of view, it's worth a try.

Had the referendum looked likely to be a 65-35 No vote there might have been no repercussions.

But already additional things are being offered to Scotland - and there are already processes in train for additional powers to come to Wales. Whatever happens those processes seem certain to be speeded up.

It seems that Westminster is going to have to be very generous with powers in the future whereas at times in the past it maybe has been a bit stingy.

Amongst Welsh politicians, none of them are quite certain what they should be negotiating over and they won't be until they see the result a week Thursday.

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