‘Getting into bed with nationalists’: Conservatives in Scotland use Plaid Cymru deal to attack Labour
Both Conservatives and the SNP in Scotland have used Welsh Labour’s deal with Plaid Cymru as a stick with which to beat their Scottish counterparts.
The Conservatives attacked Scottish Labour for being in a party that was dealing with the nationalists, while the SNP criticised them for their refusal to do the same in Scotland.
Tory MSP Stephen Kerr shared a post that said: “Across the UK, Labour are getting into bed with Nationalists to secure power. You can’t trust them with the Union.” The message was originally created by the organisation group Conservative Friends of the Union.
Labour’s deal with Plaid Cymru was also pointed to by supporters of the SNP, with Scottish National columnist Martin Hannan asking “It all begs the question – if Labour can do a deal with Plaid Cymru in Wales, why not with the SNP in Scotland?”
Calling the deal “progressive” and “far-sighted” he said that the policy that will “give the Red and Blue Unionists the heebie-jeebies” was the plan to increase the Senedd from 60 to between 80 and 100 members.
He also contrasted Welsh Labour’s relaxed take on members campaigning for independence with Scottish Labour’s opposition to the issue, adding that it was “time for Sarwar to say what he will do.”
Scotland’s SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also praised the deal, calling it “grown up” politics.
The deal revealed yesterday by the First Minister and Leader of Plaid Cymru outlines a three-year cooperation agreement that includes action on free school meals for all, strengthening the Welsh media, a north-south railway, the teaching of Welsh history, second homes, and a larger Senedd.
The two partners – the Welsh Government and the Plaid Cymru Senedd Group – will work together to jointly develop and oversee the delivery of the policies covered by the agreement, they said.
The First Minister Mark Drakeford said that this would be in addition to the Welsh Government’s own “ambitious Programme for Government”.
“But we do not have a monopoly on good ideas and we will work with progressive parties where we have shared and common interests to benefit people in Wales,” he said.
Adam Price, Leader of Plaid Cymru said that the cooperation agreement delivered on the promise for “a new type of politics”.
“They placed their trust in a new democracy with an instruction to work differently – inclusively and cooperatively,” he said.
“The challenges we face require real ambition to deliver radical ideas. The fallout from leaving the European Union, the legacy of the pandemic, and the UK Government’s determination to erode the Senedd’s powers all increase the need for transformational change.”
The deal is not a coalition and Plaid Cymru Members will not be joining the Welsh Government as Ministers or Deputy Ministers.
Plaid Cymru will appoint a designated lead member for the agreement and committees made up of Welsh Ministers and Plaid Cymru designated members will be established to reach agreement on issues covered by the Co-operation Agreement.
The deal is not set in stone as Plaid Cymru’s own members will need to ratify it at the party’s conference.