Plaid Cymru MPs will be voting against the Article 50 Bill’s second reading tonight, and have urged the Labour Party to join them in rejecting “the Tories’ extreme version of Brexit.”
Rejecting the accusation that his party was blocking the referendum outcome, the party’s Westminster group leader, Hywel Williams, said that tonight’s vote is about endorsing the Tories’ extreme version of Brexit” and called on Labour to “find a backbone”.
Plaid Cymru MPs have tabled an amendment to stop the Bill from proceeding, citing a failure to ensure “continued full and unfettered access to the European Single Market” and a refusal to require the devolved Parliaments to endorse the triggering of Article 50. The amendment reflects wording used in the White Paper published jointly by the Labour Welsh Government and the Plaid Cymru opposition in the National Assembly.
The amendment has the support of the Green Party, the SDLP and the SNP and Plaid Cymru says it contacted every Welsh Labour MP to ask them to support the amendment, but none of them have done so.
The party has also submitted amendments on numerous campaign promises made by the Vote Leave campaign, including promises on maintaining free trade with the Single Market, a cut in fuel duty, and the infamous promise to spend £350 million extra per week on the NHS.
Plaid Cymru says that if the UK Government votes for their amendments to implement the promises made by the Vote Leave campaign then they will not block the Bill from going through.
Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Parliamentary leader, Hywel Williams, said:
“Today’s vote is not about whether to accept the referendum result, it is about endorsing the Tories’ extreme version of Brexit.
“Senior Government Ministers who campaigned for Brexit during the referendum said we would continue to have free trade with the single market and that Wales wouldn’t lose a penny.
“Brexit does not have to mean isolation, it can mean maintaining our economic links with our biggest trading partner whilst still pulling out of the European Union. This vote is about endorsing the Tories’ extreme version of Brexit – to needlessly tear apart our valuable economic links, to put our NHS at risk of vested interests and to cut off the flow of economic development funding.
“The promise of continued free trade with Europe was clear, and to renege on it will have very serious consequences for the people of Wales – 200,000 of whom have jobs that are supported by our trade with Europe.
“The UK Government has ignored this promise and instead is insistent on dragging the whole of the British State out of the biggest market on earth with devastating consequences for ordinary people’s jobs and wages.
“If the UK Government commits to honouring the promises the Leave campaign made then we will withdraw our amendment and we will back the Bill.
“It is imperative that Wales isn’t stripped of its access to the biggest trading market on earth and the Labour Party should find a backbone and join Plaid Cymru in blocking Article 50 until we get this crucial guarantee.”