Protecting single market membership must top First Minister's agenda


Plaid Cymu Shadow Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs,Steffan Lewis AM, has today urged the First Minister to prioritise protecting Wales's membership of the single market in tomorrow's meeting of the Joint-Ministerial Committee.

Steffan Lewis AM said that with 200,000 jobs in Wales linked to membership of the single market, the First Minister must not allow Wales to be 'a bystander to Brexit' as the leaders of the devolved administrations meet with the Prime Minister in London to discuss the UK's departure from the EU.

He welcomed the news that the JMC will now meet more regularly and that the four nations will host the meetings on a rotating basis, but warned against a 'talking shop' which amounts to more symbolism than substance.

Plaid Cymru's Steffan Lewis AM said:

"As the First Minister prepares to meet the UK Prime Minister in London tomorrow, it is vital that protecting the Welsh economy tops his agenda.

"With 200,000 Welsh jobs linked to our membership of the single market, the First Minister must fight tooth and nail to secure a 'soft Brexit' deal for Wales.

"Unless the First Minister shows strong leadership and outline decisive demands - factors which have been absent from his response to the referendum result so far - there is a danger that Wales will become a bystander to Brexit.

"I welcome the Prime Minister's announcement that the JMC will now meet more regularly and that all four nations will host the Committee on a rotating basis.

"However, there is a danger that such meetings could turn into a superficial talking shop, rather than a forum for securing the best possible deal for Wales.

"I urge the Prime Minister to put substance before symbolism and to respect the principle that Wales must be treated with parity in any discussions on the nation's future.

"This is a defining time for our country. The First Minister must prove his worth by coming away from the meeting ‚Äéhaving secured concrete guarantees that will protect Welsh jobs and trade."

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