Mark Drakeford, first minister of Wales, has declared that the United Kingdom is "over,"' and has called for a major overhaul focused on a "voluntary union of four nations."
After proposing a more federal system akin to the United States, or even as loose as the EU, Drakeford was accused of "giving up on the Union," reports the Daily Mail.
He told MPs that parliamentary authority in the United Kingdom was a "redundant notion" and that further powers should be transferred from Westminster to the devolved nations.
He described his relationship with Boris Johnson as "remote," and he bemoaned Westminster's "relatively random basis" for engaging with the devolved nations.
He said, "There is no institutional framework to make the United Kingdom work."
"It is all ad-hoc, random, and made up as we go along. And I'm afraid that really is not a satisfactory basis to sustain the future of the UK."
The Welsh Labour leader said that he wants the United Kingdom to remain intact, implying that his stance is not as hardline as Scottish nationalists who want absolute independence.
Unionists, on the other hand, have chastised Mr Drakeford for oiling the wheels of Welsh separatism just as the movement is gaining momentum.
"Mark Drakeford's image of a hollowed-out United Kingdom kept together by the loosest of links is a recipe for national division and decline," Stephen Crabb, former Welsh Secretary and chair of the Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee, told MailOnline this morning.
"Federalism is the rallying cry of those who have given up on the Union."
Appearing before the Committee this week, Mr Drakeford told MPs the pandemic had polarised public opinion about Wales's devolution settlement.
The four nations have for the most part been managing their crises separately, leading to lockdowns of varying degrees of length and strictness.
Mr Drakeford said: 'I do think the effect of the pandemic and the last 12 months has been to polarise opinion in Wales about the way it should be governed.
'What we have to do - to quote a Conservative member of the Senedd, David Melding - is we have to recognise that the union as it is, is over. We have to create a new union.
'We have to demonstrate to people how we can recraft the UK in a way that recognises it as a voluntary association of four nations, in which we choose to pool our sovereignty for common purposes and for common benefits.'
A Savanta ComRes poll this week showed 39 per cent of people in Wales favoured independence, one of the highest levels of support ever recorded.
Mr Drakeford, who has been first minister since 2018, said he wants to see a prosperous UK but through a system of individual nations that pool sovereignty.
He said: 'The idea that sovereignty is held only in one place and is handed out to other places, but always on a piece of string so it can be pulled back to the centre at any moment when the centre requires, I think that is over.
'The European Union will be an example potentially but Canada, or Australia, or the United States, are examples of what I talked about, where sovereignty is dispersed amongst its component parts and pooled back together again for those central purposes.'
States in the US and Australia are largely in charge of their own affairs, but collective elements of governance such as defence are managed by the federal government.
Mr Drakeford also bemoaned the lack of engagement from Whitehall, but although praised Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove for increasing contact during the crisis.
However he took aim directly at the Prime Minister, who he claimed to have only once met one-on-one.
He said: 'If I have an anxiety about the lack of regular engagement between the Prime Minister and other parts of the UK, it is more that I think without that then the security of the future of the UK becomes more difficult.
'Without the Prime Minster playing his part in all of that, I think it undermines the efforts of those of us - and I include myself certainly in this - who want to craft a successful future for the UK.'
Mr Crabb, Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, asked Mr Drakeford if there was a 'meeting of minds' between him and Mr Johnson, describing the men as 'both classic scholars'.
But Mr Drakeford described his relationship with the Prime Minister as 'remote'.
He said: 'Both in the sense that I've met him only once myself - I've been at a number of meetings where there's been large numbers of other people present - and he is yet to call a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee of first ministers and himself.
'In that sense I would say I've had a very modest level of contact with the Prime Minister. And the remoteness isn't just in that way, I'm afraid we rarely have a meeting of minds.'
Downing Street recently created a new Cabinet sub-committee, chaired by Mr Johnson, tasked with strengthening the union as its fabric comes under strain.
The SNP is on course to win a majority in May's Holyrood elections, and victory will be wielded by Nicola Sturgeon as a mandate for another independence referendum.
A No10 spokesperson said: 'We have confronted this virus as one United Kingdom, working with the devolved administrations and local partners. This will continue as we move to build back better together.
'There have been hundreds of meetings and calls with the devolved administrations and local partners since the pandemic began - including the weekly calls between the first ministers, deputy first ministers and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
'The PM has always fully supported devolution and this government continues to put the union at the heart of everything we do.'