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Plaid Cymru stalwart calls for immediate end to Cooperation Agreement with Labour

19 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Dr Dewi Evans. Photo Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Martin Shipton

A prominent and longstanding member of Plaid Cymru has urged the party to pull out immediately from its Cooperation Agreement with Welsh Labour to avoid being tainted by association with Vaughan Gething.

Dr Dewi Evans, a retired consultant paediatrician, stood unsuccessfully to be national chair of Plaid in 2019.

He has written to all Plaid members in his home constituency of Carmarthen, urging them to join him in calling for an immediate end to the Cooperation Agreement.

In December 2021, the Welsh Labour government and Plaid Cymru signed a three-year deal, where the two parties agreed to work together in 46 policy areas. The agreement is not a coalition or confidence and supply agreement; Plaid Cymru remain in opposition but can appoint advisers to offices of the Welsh Government.

It was announced in November 2021 by the then leaders of the two parties, Mark Drakeford and Adam Price, following months of talks. The agreement was ratified by both parties and is due to end in December 2024, with no proposals to extend it.

‘Disbelief’

In his message to party members in Carmarthen, Dr Evans states: “Gyfeillion [Friends]. ‘Welsh’ Labour has just elected as its leader an individual who has accepted a £200,000 ‘donation’ from an individual convicted of a serious environmental crime. Disbelief!

“Plaid must remove itself from any “cooperation” agreement with ‘Welsh’ Labour immediately.

“There are other reasons why we need to walk away from this unionist party. Gething’s victory is tainted by the partisan support of the ‘unions’. But that’s the way Labour functions anyway.

“Gething as Health Minister was poor. Drakeford had to carry him. The evidence Gething gave at the Covid Inquiry recently exposed his failures.

Maintaining our connection with a Gething led Labour Party is potentially very damaging to Plaid Cymru. We are already compromised by our perceived support for the botched roll out of the 20 mph speed limit and the nonsense regarding planting trees on some of the best agricultural land in Europe.

“The ‘closed list’ voting system is another Labour stitch up. Damaging to Plaid. Not too certain we need 96 MSs anyway. 72 is probably adequate. So can we abandon our ‘support’ to a party that has been so damaging to our country (on a par almost with the damage caused by that other unionist party – the Tories). And do so immediately.

“And finally. One other reason for creating a clear ‘Irish Sea distance’ between Plaid and Labour. Gething was endorsed by Lord Kinnock, last of the Labour dinosaurs hostile to Welsh sovereignty.

“Re Gething’s £200k. If we view Cymru as 5% of the population of the UK, giving a Welsh Labour leader £200k is the equivalent of giving the English Labour leader £4m! Irrespective of who gave Gething the money it really reflects dreadfully on his judgement. But accepting it from someone with a criminal conviction for causing environmental damage…….

“And of course giving back the money changes nothing if some of it was used as part of his campaign.”

Progressive policy programme

The last Senedd election in May 2021 resulted in Labour winning half of the 60 seats.

While Mr Drakeford ruled out entering a coalition with any other party, it made sense for his party to enter a Cooperation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, both to provide support for an agreed budget and to develop a progressive policy programme that both parties could support.

This includes such policies as free school meals for all primary school children; free childcare for children up to two years old; taking “immediate and radical action to address the proliferation of second homes and unaffordable housing”; moving forward with plans to create a publicly owned energy company; encouraging farmers to create woodland on less productive land; reforming the Senedd so the number of MSs would increase from 60 to between 80 and 100 [the figure agreed on was 96]; and ensuring gender balance in the Senedd via legislation.

Plaid Cymru will be nominating its current leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth, as First Minister, and any discussion about the Cooperation Agreement is likely to come afterwards.


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Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
29 days ago

Too late Plaid is seen as Labour supporters without their own ideas. They are good at saying what others do wrong but light on policy.

Rob
Rob
29 days ago

Dr Evans is spot on and I think his message will be well received by many across Wales including disgruntled labour supporters. Plaid must totally distance itself from labour to avoid being tainted by the disgraceful behaviour of Gething and all his backers and supporters. We must expect the very highest of standards from all our politicians and leaders.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
29 days ago

Well said my old friend Dewi!!!!!

Richard E
Richard E
29 days ago

Dewi has contributed so much over so long in the medical world, social policy and in elected governance. His consel is sound, fact based and without personal abitition or individual agenda. Labour have chosen their pathway and direction which is their business and that is their right. Their leadeeship vote so even in balance shows where they are and that old habits remain. Plaid now free from the DET and mates love in of the last few years need to get back to the basics of Gwynfor and the founders. They need to work with more progressive elementd ( the… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
29 days ago

Just to point out Plaid signed up to the co-operation agreement because we viewed it to be in the best interest of the people of Wales, and a raft of progressive policies – to be implemented in this Senedd – were agreed upon as a result (Senedd expansion included). And what is in the best interest of the people of Wales – a fundamental which no other party adheres to – must continue to guide us as we enter a new and challenging political chapter in Wales (as i understand it the agreement is due to come to a natural… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Leigh Richards
Annibendod
Annibendod
29 days ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Sorry Leigh, we rolled over on the closed lists and I fear that was a very bad mistake. Welsh Labour’s actions wrt devolution are to build a fiefdom. Yes, we should cooperate to further the policies in our manifesto – but we should have drawn the line there. We’ve allowed Labour to get away with a stinker there and I think we’ll pay the price for it.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
28 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Agree Annibendod, rolled over is the right word. This could become Plaids Liberal Democrats moment.

hdavies15
hdavies15
28 days ago
Reply to  Swn Y Mor

.. and they will keep on rolling unless someone has the backbone to apply pressure on the brakes !

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
28 days ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

What on earth has Putin got to do with the Plaid Cymru cooperation with the Labour government in the Senedd!
Putin,Zelensky and Netanyahu along with the rest of the world outside the UK couldn’t care less about what goes on in The Senedd.

Annibendod
Annibendod
29 days ago

Hollol cytuno ond, yn anffodus, mae’r niwed wedi ei wneud ar y rhestrau caeedig. Nid yw Llafur Vaughan Gething yn gyfaill i Blaid Cymru. Ymhellach, gweledigaeth cyfyng iawn o Gymru sydd gan Gething – gwladwriaeth cleient i San Steffan Llafur a Gething fel brenin bach. Hollol annigonol.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
29 days ago

Cytuno gant y cant. Cafod V.G i fewn trwy ddulliau hynod amheus, ac mae angen i’r Blaid ymnbellhau ar fyrder neu golli’r hyn sy’n weddill ganddi o’i henw da (ac nid oes llawer o hwnnw’n weddill, gwaetha’r modd.)

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
29 days ago

The ‘perceived support’ for poor policies is a major problem. Think back to a few weeks ago, farmers seeing the 10% + 10% proposals came to believe that Plaid had backed this policy. It led to the rather farcical situation on line, where both Mr ap Iorwerths and Plaid Cymrus facebook accounts were having to pump out pro farming material in a desperately attempt to shore up their reputation. However were the farmers right? Mr Shipton outlines how the cooperation agreement in 2021 included ‘encouraging farmers to create woodland on less productive land’.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
29 days ago

I agree with Dr Dewi Evans. Seeing Labour in London are embracing the ghost of Thatcherism and Welsh Labour in Cardiff are embroiled in scandal regarding newly elected FM Vaughan Gething’s refusal to hand back dirty money, not forgetting the way he was elected Plaid can only get tarred with the same brush. Stand too close to the fire you’ll likely end up being burnt.

Last edited 29 days ago by Y Cymro
Arfon Jones
Arfon Jones
29 days ago

We should not forget that the purpose of the co operation agreement was to get the “government” to adopt Plaid Cymru social welfare policies which they did and as a consequence led to the betterment of society. What Plaid Cymru needs to do now is to.publish the impact of the co operation agreement for all to see and that it can be judged on the basis of knowledge rather than social media guesswork and petty politicking.

Glwyo
Glwyo
28 days ago

Did Plaid not support 96 AS and closed lists then?

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