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Tony Blair aide worried about losing devolution referendum due to 'language mafia'

Y Senedd (Image: Gwalia)

An aide to Tony Blair warned that the 1997 referendum to establish devolution in Cymru would be lost due to people's concerns around a "language mafia", it has been revealed.

Pat McFadden, a Downing Street aide who would become a Labour MP in 2005, said: "On the Welsh language you know my view - this scared people in much of Wales who already resent the language mafia."

The "yes" campaign narrowly won the referendum with 50.3% of the vote.

Mr McFadden also said that attacks over the cost of the Assembly—as it was then known—and accusations that it would create "jobs for the boys", were effective.

Mr McFadden said: "In other words, the cost would have been more defensible if it was for something people thought was worth having."

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