Over 30 Welsh politicians call for second Brexit referendum on final deal

MV Stena Superfast X leaving Holyhead. Picture by Reading Tom (CC BY 2.0)

More than thirty Welsh party leaders, AMs, MPs, MEPs and council leaders have called for a second vote on the final Brexit deal.

They said that they were concerned that the final deal could create a hard border at Wales’ ports, and that it could lead to a shortage of well-paid, high-quality jobs in the country.

The signatories include Labour local Government Secretary Alun Davies, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, and Liberal Democrat Education secretary Kirsty Williams.

Labour MPs Anna McMorrin and Tonia Antoniazzi, who are shadow parliamentary private secretaries at Westminster, have also signed the letter despite it contradicting Labour’s official Brexit stance.

Eight council leaders, including the leaders of Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Ceredigion councils, have also signed the letter.

Among the other signatories are the Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones, Labour MPs Chris Bryant and Owen Smith, and Plaid Cymru MPs Jonathan Edwards and Liz Saville-Roberts.

All say that they accept that Wales voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum, but that the debate has now moved on from a simple Leave or Remain decision.

‘Good future’

The letter states that there are a “whole raft of issues that were never, or hardly ever, discussed in the referendum,” but which are now “extremely important” to Wales.

“The Irish border is one, and that is one that matters for Wales because our ports could suddenly find themselves as part of a hard-economic border with Ireland,” the letter says.

“Time is short. We urge everyone in Wales of goodwill, from all parties and none, to stand with us in calling on our MPs to pledge their support for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.”

The letter also states that it has become clear that many of the promises made by the Leave campaign during the referendum would not materialise.

“There will be no £350 million a week for the NHS,” it says. “There will not be any new trade deals ready to sign as soon as we leave.”

They said that the issue now is not whether Brexit happens but what kind of deal it secures for Wales and the rest of the UK.

“The issue now is what we think about the Brexit deal that the Prime Minister brings back,” it said.

“Will it secure a good future for our young people and allow them to thrive? Will it help protect and grow the number of well-paid, highly-skilled, jobs that Wales needs?”

The EU and UK Government are planning to come to a final deal in the Autumn of this year.

‘Damaging’

A spokesperson for the pro-European campaign group Wales For Europe said that the Welsh call for a People’s Vote marks a turning point in the approach to Brexit.

“We are finding that people we meet are now questioning the type of deal that may be put together and what it actually means for them, their families and communities,” the spokesperson said.

“Whether someone voted Leave or Remain, they certainly didn’t vote to be poorer. Yet all the evidence points to Brexit having a lasting, damaging impact on all aspects of our lives.

“It is great that so many of our elected representatives are speaking out for the people of Wales to demand a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.”

Yesterday a pro-Eu campaign group, Brest for Britain, said that Labour will reap electoral rewards in Wales if the party moves to oppose Brexit.

According to its analysis, every constituency held by a Welsh Labour MP a majority of the people who voted for them also backed Remain.

It claimed that 437,606 people who voted Labour in 2017 backed Remain in the Brexit referendum, with just 215,497 supporting Leave.

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