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Plaid Cymru MP: ‘Labour offering little more than a change of branding’

28 May 2024 5 minute read
Ben Lake chats with voters.

A Plaid Cymru MP has reiterated the party’s call to rejoin the Single Market and Customs Union – denouncing a Labour election victory as “little more than a change of branding”.

Plaid Cymru Treasury Spokesperson, Ben Lake, has today criticised the Labour and the Tories for being “wedded to a fiscal consensus that will continue to hold Wales back”.

The MP for Ceredigion, who is Plaid Cymru’s candidate for the new seat of Ceredigion Preseli, said that Labour offered “little more than a change of branding”.

He listed “sticking to Conservative spending rules”, “denying Wales’ fair share of transport funding” and “sticking with a damaging European trade policy” as examples where Labour was not offering real change.

“Real alternative”

Pitching his party as the real alternative to Conservative policies, Mr Lake said that Wales needs “ambitious economic plans to break the economic doom loop”, including investment in the economy to “drive growth and reduce inequality”.

He added that Plaid Cymru would “get back the trade barriers that hold Wales back and rejoin the single market.”

Ben Lake said: “In this General Election, we face a dire situation where both Labour and the Conservatives are wedded to a fiscal consensus that will continue to hold Wales back.

“From sticking to Conservative spending rules, to denying Wales’ fair share of transport funding, to sticking with a damaging European trade policy, it’s clear that Labour is offering little more than a change of branding.”

Single market

He added: “We need ambitious economic plans to break the economic doom loop we’re in.

“Plaid Cymru would invest in the Welsh economy to drive growth and reduce inequality.

“We would get rid of the trade barriers that hold Wales back and rejoin the single market.”

Mr Lake’s calls echo those made by Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville Roberts, who recently reiterated her party’s commitment to rejoining the Single Market and Customs Union, claiming that Brexit is “wrecking” the economy.

The MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said that there is “clear and growing public support for closer ties with the EU” but criticised Labour and the Tories for their silence on the matter.

‘Beggars belief’

Ms Saville Roberts said that it “beggars belief” that the impact of Brexit is ignored by the two main parties in this election.

A recent report by Cambridge Econometrics, and commissioned by the London Assembly, calculated that the average UK resident was nearly £2,000 worse off in 2023 because of Brexit.

Liz Saville Roberts

Ms Saville Roberts said: “This election is about one thing: the economy. And we need to face a hard truth—Brexit is wrecking it.

“The average UK resident was nearly £2,000 worse off in 2023 as a result of Brexit. It beggars belief that a crucial election will ignore that reality.

“There is a clear and growing public support for closer ties with the EU, but both Conservatives and Labour are joined in a complicity of silence.

“Plaid Cymru isn’t scared of telling it as it is. The evidence is clear: Brexit isn’t working. It has caused inflation to skyrocket, import costs to surge, and critical sectors like the NHS, hospitality, and tourism to suffer severe worker shortages.

“Plaid Cymru has a clear plan to address Brexit’s failures. We will tackle worker shortages and skill gaps by attracting and retaining talent in key sectors. We will cut red tape on food products to ease trade and reduce costs. We will restore control over post-Brexit funding to the Senedd, ensuring Wales has the resources it needs.

“We will forge the closest possible ties with Europe, reaffirming our commitment to strong relationships. And crucially, we will push to rejoin the Single Market and Customs Union, reviving our economy and putting money back in Welsh pockets.

“Plaid Cymru believes EU membership was—and remains—in the best interest of Wales. But this isn’t about re-running the Brexit referendum – it’s about undoing economic damage and securing a prosperous future. That’s why we must urgently re-enter the Single Market and Customs Union.

“In this election in Wales, the choice is clear. For honest politics and practical solutions to the problems in our economy – vote Plaid Cymru.”

Drawing closer

Labour has insisted it will not rejoin the customs union or single market if elected, however last month it floated the possibility of  drawing closer to Europe on key foreign and security issues, suggesting it could seek to attend meetings of the monthly EU foreign affairs council.

In September last year, Sir Keir Starmer insisted there was no case for rejoining the European Union following criticism from Tory Ministers after suggesting his party did not want to “diverge” from the bloc’s regulations.

Sir Keir told broadcasters: “I have repeatedly said that there’s no case for going back into the EU and that includes the single market and the customs union.”

 


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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
21 days ago

Plaid’s Ben Lake asks a very good question. What is Keir Starmer & UK Labour actually offering Wales? Well, if we take their general election promises & pledges as an example, and seeing Wales hardly gets a mention. Absolutely nothing but more of the same poverty rule.

Annibendod
Annibendod
20 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Same old economic settlement, same old constitutional settlement, same old political settlement, same old decline, same old poverty.

robin campbell
robin campbell
20 days ago

Plaid need to keep demanding a Leader’s Debate specifically for Wales with Sunak, Starmer and ap Iorwerth

Algie
Algie
20 days ago

Keir offers Cymru a boot up the backside once a week instead of twice….yay

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