Keir Starmer ‘pointedly silent’ on Labour-Plaid deal, says Guardian columnist
Keir Starmer has been “pointedly silent” about the cooperation agreement between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, a Guardian columnist has said.
In an article for the London-based liberal newspaper, Rafael Behr, he argued that Labour’s Leader in Westminster’s “more feasible route to No 10” looks like a “collaboration with other parties”.
He pointed out that “power-sharing” is already a “normal feature of British politics”, and pointed to to the deal that was officially signed between First Minister Mark Drakeford, and the Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price yesterday as an example.
But he suggested that it “goes against the grain of English political culture, and Labour pride” for Starmer “to accept that the shortest route to power” is to collaborate with other parties in a similar way.
In his Guardian column, Behr said: “But it is also true that power-sharing is a normal feature of British politics. The Scottish government is a coalition of Nationalists and Greens. In Wales, Labour has signed a cooperation agreement with Plaid Cymru (an arrangement on which Starmer has been pointedly silent).
“In local government, ‘no overall control’ is a routine outcome requiring cross-party deals. Only in Westminster is the absence of a decisive win treated as an offence against the natural order. In a hung parliament, the gap between the largest party and the majority it needs is abhorred as an electoral obscenity that must be covered to protect the dignity of the constitution.
‘Evicting the Tories’
He added: “It goes against the grain of English political culture, and Labour pride, to accept that the shortest route to power involves evicting the Tories by some method of collaboration with other parties.”
The wide-ranging joint policy programme agreed between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, which covers a total of 66 areas.
It includes action on free school meals for all, strengthening the Welsh media, the development of north-south railway links, the teaching of Welsh history, second homes, a larger Senedd and more.
Yesterday, Plaid Cymru Leader, Adam Price, summed up the event where the cooperation agreement was signed, with the Welsh football motto: “Gorau chwarae cyd chwarae.”
“Today marks the beginning of a new way of doing politics,” he said. “I’m proud to sign this agreement with the First Minister and look forward to working together to make a difference to the lives of the people of Wales.”
Adam Price had earlier thanked Plaid Cymru members for backing what he called a “huge step forward”.
“I cannot wait for the work to begin for the people of Wales,” he said.