Wales politics

Wales to be promoted as 'principality' by Lord Elis-Thomas

Lord Elis-Thomas
Image caption Independent AM and ex-Plaid Cymru leader Lord Elis-Thomas joined the Welsh Government last month

The Welsh Government's tourism minister has declared he will promote Wales as "a principality within the United Kingdom".

Lord Elis-Thomas said the Prince of Wales was as enthusiastic as he was about the idea.

The recently-appointed culture, tourism and sport minister was speaking at a Wales Office reception in London.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood denounced the idea as an "out-dated gimmick".

The Oxford English Dictionary describes a principality as "the territory held or governed by a prince".

Wales has not been a principality since the 16th century and the Welsh Government itself has denied that Wales is one.

Lord Elis-Thomas told guests at the event: "We are going to promote the principality of Wales as a wonderful principality."

He said "the Prince of Wales is as enthusiastic as I am" about marketing Wales "as a principality within the United Kingdom".

Lord Elis-Thomas joked: "Anybody who doesn't like this word, I will see you at the end."

The Welsh Government said in a statement in 2008: "Wales is not a principality. Although we are joined with England by land, and we are part of Great Britain, Wales is a country in its own right."

Image copyright Twitter/Jonathan Edwards

On Tuesday, a Welsh Government spokesman told BBC Wales: "This is not Welsh Government policy and we cannot comment further on personal remarks made at an event attended by the minister in a personal capacity."

Lord Elis-Thomas is a former leader of Plaid Cymru who quit the party in 2016 to sit as an independent member of the Welsh Assembly, pledging to support the Labour-led Welsh Government.

First Minister Carwyn Jones appointed him to a junior ministerial post in November, although he has not joined the Labour party.

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Media captionJim Jones of North Wales Tourism said promoting the nation as a principality could raise its profile

The Dwyfor Meirionnydd AM's comments prompted an outcry on social media from people who said referring to Wales as a principality diminished its status.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said on Twitter: "Wales has so much to offer. Our literature, history, cultures, music, art, language, landscape, waterways, mountains, amazing food, drink & more.

"Ministers should focus on these wonderful strengths to promote our country & forget the out-dated gimmicks."

Jonathan Edwards, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr tweeted: "Labour Government Ministers once again rejoicing in Wales' vassal status. What hope for Wales with such inherent subservience guiding the governance of our country".

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