British political system needs ‘complete overhaul’ say 93% of Welsh voters

Westminster at sunset

A new poll suggests that an overwhelming majority of people in Wales have lost faith in the British political system.

Excluding ‘don’t knows’, 93% of Welsh respondents to a Comres poll agreed with the statement that ‘the Brexit process has shown that the British political system needs a complete overhaul’.

The poll also projected that:

  • 86% disagreed that ‘politicians are in touch with the mood of the country’.
  • 91% agreed that ‘the current generation of politicians are not up to the job’.
  • 89% disagreed that ‘the current British political system enables my voice to be heard’.
  • 67% supported replacing the House of Lords with an elected Senate.
  • 92% supported enabling more decisions to be made at local level rather than by Parliament.
  • 69% supported replacing the First Past the Post system for electing MPs to Westminster with a more proportional voting system.

The fieldwork of the poll was done on the 14th-15th January, as MPs prepared to vote against UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

‘Constructive’

Following the vote and yesterday’s confidence motion in the UK Government, opposition parties including Plaid Cymru have put pressure on Labour to abandon support of Brexit and back a second referendum.

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said that the party would now lead cross-party efforts to persuade the Labour Party to adopt a People’s Vote as its Brexit policy now that the motion of no confidence has failed in the House of Commons.

In a letter backed by Plaid Cymru, SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens, Jeremy Corbyn has been urged to pay heed o the wishes of Labour delegates, who voted at the party conference in favour of a motion calling for a People’s Vote if a General Election is ruled out.

“Now that Parliament cannot come to an agreement on the way forward, it’s time for the people to decide on our European future. One person – Jeremy Corbyn – continues to stand in the way,” Liz Saville Roberts said.

“Jeremy Corbyn has, by now, satisfied one element of his conference policy. He must listen to his own party members and move towards a People’s Vote now that a General Election is off the cards.

“To disregard the mandate of his own conference delegates is a dereliction of democratic duty.

“Meaningless motions of no confidence tabled by the Labour Party on a rolling basis will do nothing but worsen the logjam and create further economic distress. We will not support efforts that only run down the Brexit clock – they must present a real chance of breaking the deadlock.

“We will, of course, continue to vote against any government that does not put the interests of Wales first but we will not be pawns in futile political games for either Westminster party.”

Labour has demanded Theresa May kill off a no-deal Brexit as the price of talks with Jeremy Corbyn about finding a way out of the crisis that has paralysed Westminster politics.

But Downing Street refused to make such a concession, with the prime minister’s official spokesman saying: “Want to leave with a deal but she is determined to deliver on the verdict of the British public and that is to leave the EU on March 29 this year.”

May made a short live television address to the nation late on Wednesday in which she said the talks had been constructive, adding: “I am disappointed that the leader of the Labour Party has not so far chosen to take part, but our door remains open.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable told Mr Corbyn to “get off the fence”.

He said: “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party cannot procrastinate any longer – either he backs Brexit or he backs the people. He has a responsibility to get off the fence and provide some effective opposition.

“The only serious option is what the Liberal Democrats have been calling for since June 24, 2016 – a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU.”

‘Solution’

Theresa May has also reached out to other political parties to find a way forward, and held meetings with Plaid Cymru, the SNP, and the Liberal Democrats.

Following her meeting with the Prime Minister, Westminster Plaid Cymru leader Liz Saville Roberts said:

“We approached these discussions in a constructive manner. I told the Prime Minister, however, that this must not be a meeting for a meeting’s sake.

“Plaid Cymru will always put the interests of Wales first – and that is exactly what we did. The Prime Minister must understand that concession and compromise is now the order of the day.

“We are committed to finding a real solution to the Brexit mess. We will continue to press the case for a People’s Vote on our European future.

“The Prime Minister is very quickly running out of road. We have given her the solution, it is now up to her to act.”

Rejecting

Yesterday the National Assembly voted in favour of the Plaid Cymru motion to reject an exit from the European Union with no deal under any circumstances.

The motion also calls on the First Minister to ask for the emergency reconvening of the UK JMC (Joint Ministerial Committee) in order to seek agreement on ruling out a no deal exit from the European Union.

The motion passed 37 to 16 with no abstentions.

Speaking after the vote, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said,

“I’m very pleased that the Welsh Government and our national parliament supported Plaid Cymru’s motion in rejecting in any circumstances an exit from the European Union with no deal.

“The agreement on our motion is a good sign that there is an emerging understanding in this place that we must come together to face problems that are crowding around Wales and the Welsh economy, threatening a perfect storm.

“A No Deal scenario would cost the Welsh economy billions, endangering jobs and communities across Wales. It threatens a financial crisis, likely to heavily impact trade and cause a domestic recession, the aftershocks of which will be felt for a long time.

“This is without even mentioning the chaos it would cause for necessities which we import including food and medicine. It is likely that such is the depth of the short-term impact in certain sectors – the car industry, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, farming – that it will leave a long shadow of economic decline.

“Not only must no deal be taken off the table but it’s time to move on to the real solutions. It’s time to extend Article 50 and put the question of our European future to the people.”

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