First Minister flip flops on Single Market access

Two different answers in two days on question of Welsh access to European market

Plaid Cymru has highlighted signs of chaos in the Labour Government, after the First Minister gave two different answers on his view as to whether Wales should have access to or membership of the European Single Market following withdrawal from the EU.

On Monday (12/9/16), Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs Steffan Lewis quizzed the First Minister in the committee for External Affairs. On Tuesday (13/9/16) leader Leanne Wood asked the First Minister on two different occasions for his position on single market membership. Both times, he gave different answers.

Membership of the Single Market can be attained through participation in European Economic Area or European Free Trade Association. Access to the Single Market can be obtained whilst outside the EEA and EFTA, through a free trade deal.

In First Minister’s Questions yesterday the First Minister stated that he supported membership of the Single Market:

Yet in Monday’s scrutiny committee, the First Minister stated to Steffan Lewis that he did not support membership of the Single Market.

Describing this contradiction as a sign of chaos from the Labour Government, Leanne Wood commented:

“There is significant confusion on the First Minister’s position on Single Market membership. This is a symptom of the chaos within the Labour Government on this matter.

“People want certainty now, not more confusion. The First Minister has given two different answers in two days on whether Wales should be a member of the Single Market, or whether Wales should just have “access” to it from outside.

“He has also said that Wales would veto the final terms of Brexit if they were not favourable. Wales needs a vision, not just a veto.
“Plaid Cymru believes that only full membership of the Single Market will ensure that firms in Wales can continue to trade freely with the rest of Europe from outside of the European Union.

“If full membership of the single market is the best option for Wales, that is what the Welsh First Minister should advocate.
“The First Minister is risking tariff barriers between Welsh businesses and European markets through his refusal to support membership of the single market. Instead, he supports a Ukip-style free trade agreement.”

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