“The First Minister is putting his party’s policy over the needs of the people of Wales”

UK Labour’s new policy to “Make Brexit Work” sells Wales short, says Adam Price MS, the Leader of Plaid Cymru.

Mr Price was speaking after Questions to the First Minister, in which Mark Drakeford confirmed he supported Keir Starmer’s plan to not seek to re-join the EU single market should Labour get into power in Westminster.

Mr Price accused Mark Drakeford of “putting his party’s policy over the needs of the people of Wales” by his stubbornness of “sticking resolutely to UK Labour policy.”

Leaving the single market and customs union is costing the UK billions in lost trade and tax revenues, and the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) forecasts that both exports and imports will be around 15% lower in the long run than if the UK remained in the EU.

Wales’ greater dependency on trade with the EU has meant that its economy has suffered more from the economic slump associated with the new barriers than the rest of the UK.

Welsh ports have lost business both through direct-to-Europe sailing from the Republic of Ireland and through northern Irish ports that currently are enjoying an indefinite grace period to export checks to Scotland. 

However, senior UK Labour politicians, including Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Member of Senedd Alun Davies have spoken out against Starmer’s position, with Mr Khan stating that the single market is the best option for London.

Leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price MS said,

“In refusing to acknowledge that the answer lies in re-joining the single market, in sticking resolutely to UK Labour policy that means that Wales loses out, the First Minister is putting his party’s policy over the needs of the people of Wales.

“The Brexit Reality for Wales is lost trade and lost opportunity. It’s now more attractive to send goods from the Republic of Ireland to Belfast and on to Scotland than it is to export them through Wales – this is the reality for Welsh ports.

“The so-called ‘landing zone’ for the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol exempting them from most of the required checks that the UK Labour Party leader set out yesterday will make that disadvantage for Welsh ports permanent, and it’ll do the same for Welsh agriculture and for Welsh manufacturing.

“My question to the First Minister was whether he warned Sir Keir of the risks to the future of Welsh ports ahead of Sir Keir’s speech. The First Minister had no answer to this question.”