Price: Co-operation agreement opportunity to ditch ‘Westminster adversarial style’ and focus on Wales
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said that the co-operation agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government was an opportunity to ditch the “Westminster adversarial style” of politics and focus on working together to improve people’s lives in Wales.
Speaking at a joint press conference with First Minister Mark Drakeford, he said that the purpose of politics was “not to be competitive” and that parties working together was the norm across the rest of Europe.
They were speaking together to announce that £25m is being invested in school kitchen and dining infrastructure, as part of plans to roll out free school meals to all primary school children in Wales.
“This co-operative politics is the norm in most other parts of Europe,” he said. “And it’s only I think, the UK which has been brought up with a sort of Westminster adversarial style.
“It’s then rather surreal in that sense that we somehow see that as odd, and the people that I’ve spoken to actually finally it refreshing that, yes, we can have honest and respectful disagreement in some areas, as we do.
“But that doesn’t mean that we can’t actually move together on those really important things, the big things that we’ve been talking about today, where there is common ground.
“Because ultimately, you know, what is the purpose of politics? Not just to be competitive just for the sake of it, but actually to try and improve the lives of the people of Wales.
“And sometimes the best way of doing that is, you know, putting aside the party difference and prioritising the performance of Wales, and I think that has resonance with many, many citizens.”
Mark Drakeford added that he thought that voters were “sophisticated” and would not be confused by two parties working together.
“I think they’d like to see political parties working together where we have common ground and they understand that there will be other issues on which we continue to have different views,” he said.
“I think the public response to the cooperation agreement was a very positive one. And as I say, I think people understand that where we can work together we should, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t continue to have views on other important matters.
“I think that’s something people in other parts of Europe, as Adam said, are very used to and people in Wales are increasingly used to it as well.”
From September, some of the youngest children in primary schools will begin receiving free school meals as the policy is introduced in a phased way, starting with the youngest pupils, they said.
Working with schools and local authorities, the Welsh Government will plan and prepare the infrastructure needed for all primary aged pupils to receive free school meals by September 2024.
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