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Plaid Cymru leader would ‘put a fiver’ on Labour winning election

13 Jun 2024 5 minute read
Rhun ap Iorwerth leader of Plaid Cymru, appearing during a BBC General Election interview Panorama special, hosted by Nick Robinson. Photo credit: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

Ahead of Plaid Cymru’s manifesto launch today, Rhun ap Iorwerth has joked he would “put a fiver” on Sir Keir Starmer being the next prime minister, but stressed the need for Welsh voices to be heard to stop Labour from acting “with impunity”.

Speaking on the BBC’s Panorama programme – which is interviewing each of the UK’s political leaders ahead of the General Election on July 4 – he said Sir Keir’s party was almost certain to win and Wales’ voice needed to be heard.

He said: “I think Keir Starmer is going to be prime minister in four weeks’ time.

“Having covered politics long enough, I think the evidence points in that direction.

“He will become prime minister regardless of how Wales votes and that’s a key factor for people to consider in Wales.”

“Plurality of thoughts”

Mr ap Iorwerth told the host, Nick Robinson, that the choice was whether voters give Labour a “huge majority to act with impunity” or “ensure that there’s plurality of thoughts and ideas and energy in the Houses of Parliament”.

When Robinson pushed back on the outcome being known, the Plaid leader joked: “I’ll put a fiver on it.”

He also accused some Labour politicians, including shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens, of forgetting the people they represent, particularly on the issue of funding for high-speed rail project HS2 not coming to Wales.

“We believe, firmly, that Wales should be given a consequential share of funding for that as Scotland did,” Mr ap Iorwerth said.

“Labour members in Wales in the Welsh Parliament agree with us, but Jo Stevens doesn’t.

“We have members from Labour in Wales who act as if they have forgotten they are representing Welsh constituencies.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth leader of Plaid Cymru, appearing during a BBC General Election interview Panorama special, hosted by Nick Robinson. Photo credit: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

Plaid argues that Wales missed out on £4 billion because HS2 was designated an “England and Wales” scheme by the UK Treasury – despite the route being entirely in England.

This meant it did not trigger the mechanism which would normally see extra funding given to the devolved nation.

Challenge

Mr ap Iorwerth was also challenged on when his party would like to see Wales become independent.

His party previously called for a referendum to be held by 2026, and while Mr ap Iorwerth said he would like to see independence “tomorrow” he said they were no longer setting a date.

Instead, he said he had an “absolute belief” that Wales could not reach its full potential until it was independent.

Asked if devolution had failed due to high NHS waiting lists and poor school performance, the Plaid leader insisted it had not.

“Devolution hasn’t failed,” Mr ap Iorwerth said.

“Devolution is just devolution.

“Devolution is making sure that we in Wales have a voice over the public services that we need to depend on every day.

“We know that the NHS in England is in all sorts of trouble. Social care in England is in a very, very problematic state.

“I believe in devolution because I believe in us deciding on those major issues.

“The problem that we have in Wales is that we have had 25 years of unbroken Labour-led governments.”

Manifesto

Plaid Cymru will pledge to secure fairer funding for Wales and get the billions it says the country is owed in rail cash in its manifesto.

Windfall taxes, fighting for money “owed to Wales” in rail funding and devolving the Crown Estate should be used to create green jobs and build prosperity, the party said.

Mr ap Iorwerth said: “This election is about one thing – the economy.

“What sets Plaid Cymru apart is a record of not taking Wales for granted and always putting the interests of our communities and nation first. We offer a real alternative for Wales.

“That’s why I’m proud to launch our manifesto today that sets out Plaid Cymru’s vision of a fairer, more ambitious future where everyone can reach their potential – regardless of circumstance or background.

“We will fight every day for the billions owed to Wales from the HS2 high-speed rail project, and for a fair funding model which funds our country according to need, not population.

“This will enable us to invest in our public services and better reward our workforce.

“By supporting families and by transferring powers to ensure that more of the decisions that affect Wales are made in Wales, we will address the cost-of-living crisis and provide Welsh solutions to Welsh problems.”

Mr ap Iorwerth said the lack of control over natural resources meant the country was “energy-rich but fuel-poor” and that his party would fight for economic fairness.

He argued that 14 years of Tory cuts had seen public services cut “to the bone” and that Labour would not offer a meaningful change.

“Our communities have been left to pay the price of decades of underinvestment from both London parties,” he said.

“On July 4, we can send a message that Wales won’t be taken for granted any longer and that’s only by electing a strong group of Plaid Cymru MPs that will always demand fairness for their square mile and put Wales’s best interests first in Westminster.”


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Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Some people working in government can afford to gamble £100 but poor old Plaid Cymru can only afford “a fiver”.

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
1 month ago

I would’t bet a penny that Plaid will do any better in this election that they did in the last, which wasn’t very good!

Paul Symons
Paul Symons
1 month ago

He does have a valid point about Labour forgetting about Wales. The present mob in Cardiff are only interested in feathering their own nest and aren’t going to rock the boat. (After all they aren’t even to deal with their ineffective leader). Having a representative or two in Westminster who can remind the government that we still exist is not a bad thing.

John Ellis
John Ellis
1 month ago

That’s what all the polls, for over a year now, are suggesting, so he’s hardly being bold and adventurous in making that assertion! I don’t at all take the view that a vote for Plaid in a UK-wide general election is always pointless; but I do think that, in the present condition of UK politics, a vote for Plaid in constituencies where past voting history makes it clear that their candidate has no chance whatever of being elected is essentially rather pointless – at least in terms of hoping to make an actual difference.. Best to cast your vote for… Read more »

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