Former Plaid leader re-assures Queen on future of UK

If the Queen is concerned about the prospect of Scottish independence, Her Majesty can count on re-assurance from an unlikely quarter - a former leader of Plaid Cymru.

Lord Elis-Thomas, for it is he, has told both the Queen and the Prince of Wales that the United Kingdom is safe whatever the outcome of September's referendum vote.

His comments came during a discussion on Sunday Supplement about the fall-out from the European elections. What, I asked, does it say about Wales that, after 15 years of devolution, a British nationalist party had out-polled a Welsh nationalist one?

Lord Elis-Thomas said:"I think it shows there has to be a very lively political debate about the future and clearly we're going to have that because Scotland will force it on us. That's the big issue for me

"I don't buy all this stuff that the United Kingdom is coming to an end and the sky has fallen in and I have said this to the head of state, both the present one and the future one."

Had he said that to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond?

"He knows my views on these things, of course, and he's taken that position. Remember the SNP white paper, the government white paper, is very clear the head of state is Her Majesty the Queen and the Prince of Wales's job is safe, as well as being Duke of Rothesay, Prince of Wales, when he becomes king.

"But the key problem for me then is that Wales doesn't become marginalised in that unhappy unit of administration called England and Wales, which is very often the danger as devolution in Scotland presses ahead. So I totally support the call by Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones - and I only wish other people would listen to him - for a convention to look at the future of the UK and the future of devolution and I think we need to work across party for that in the assembly when we go back now."

I thought I may have misheard part of the first answer. Did he really re-assure the Queen and the Prince of Wales that the UK was safe?

"Yes, I did, because you see far as I'm concerned what's happening in Scotland is yet another transformation of the United Kingdom. It remains a kingdom and the Union of crowns remains and therefore in my book to assert that Scotland is leaving the United Kingdom is constitutionally inaccurate and I don't like constitutional inaccuracies."