News

The senior Welsh Labour MPs who have failed to publicly welcome the Plaid-Labour agreement

29 Nov 2021 4 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford and Adam Price announce their new cooperation agreement. Picture by Plaid Cymru.

The deputy leader of Welsh Labour and new shadow Wales secretary are among the majority of the party’s MPs who haven’t publicly welcomed the cooperation agreement with Plaid Cymru in the week since it was announced.

Neither Carolyn Harris or Jo Stevens have mentioned the agreement, which First Minister Mark Drakeford said would help deliver “radical change” like free school meals for primary school pupils, on their social media accounts since its publication last Monday.

Just four of 22 Welsh Labour MPs have commented on the agreement with varying degrees of enthusiasm, further fuelling the perception of differences between Labour MPs and MSs. By comparison, at least five Welsh Labour MPs have tweeted this week about a by-election in England.

Cynon Valley MP Beth Winter gave the most fulsome endorsement, writing on Twitter: “Well done Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru on a progressive deal that benefits the people of Wales. From an extension of free school meals to improvements in social care, rent controls and free child care, this will be good for the people of Wales.”

On the same day, Pontypridd MP Alex Davies-Jones wrote on Facebook that “this agreement with Plaid Cymru on a limited set of policies helps to make sure we have stability over the coming years.”

Some six days later, Llanelli’s Nia Griffith wrote on Saturday that she was “Glad to hear Plaid Cymru are supporting [the] Prif Weinidog and our excellent progressive Welsh Labour policies inlc[uding] extending free school meal provision.”

The message was shared by Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty and Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney Gerald Jones, although Jones later deleted his tweet.

Later the same day, Swansea West MP Geraint Davies issued a similar message saying: “Diolch Plaid Cymru for joining [the] Welsh Labour government in radical plans from free school meals in primary schools & 2-year olds childcare to tackling the housing crisis, supporting family farms & accelerating to net zero.”

‘Too Welsh’

Nia Griffith’s message was called “gutter politics” by Plaid Cymru MS Mabon ap Gwynfor amid claims that the Labour MP was claiming credit for delivering free school meals solely for her party.

Plaid Cymru councillor Gary Pritchard responded: “It’s a shame that Labour’s Welsh MPs aren’t as grown up an open to collaboration as their Members in the Senedd.”

Newport West’s Ruth Jones and Neath’s Christina Rees retweeted positive messages about the agreement.

Carolyn Harris (left). Picture by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0). Jo Stevens picture by Richard Townsend (CC BY 3.0).

Senior Labour MPs however were notable by their absence on the issue. Carolyn Harris has published or shared over 30 tweets since the deal was announced last Monday without mentioning it, while Jo Stevens has commented on Toy Story and the by-election in Old Bexley and Sidcup as well as sharing a message about the Scottish Government’s policies.

Meanwhile, other Welsh Labour MPs who haven’t welcomed the deal found the time to tweet about James BondEd Balls and former Leeds footballer Don Revie.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones recently suggested Mark Drakeford is “just too Welsh” to be held up as a success story by UK Labour.

“Given that the wider Labour party is currently so short on success stories and, in particular, is failing to attract back leave voters, it may seem surprising that it continues to make so little of Drakeford,” he said.

“No doubt it is in part a reflection of a general lack of interest in, or knowledge of, Wales: Observer columnist Andrew Rawnsley once reported that, in Blair’s Downing Street, Wales was regarded as ‘Scotland’s smaller, uglier sister’. Even with Scottish Labour now a wan shadow of its former self, this prioritisation still holds true…

“Then again, perhaps the first minister is just too Welsh for the British party at large.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
19 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Grayham Jones
1 month ago

The Labour Party have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh the Labour Party have got to start fighting for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Dr Keith W Darlington
Dr Keith W Darlington
1 month ago

It confirms everything I said in my article last week about the gulf between Westminster Welsh Labour MPs and Senedd Labour growing. Furthermore, none of the shadow Cabinet, including Starmer and Rayner, have anything to say about it whatsoever? It’s because Starmer does not like the idea of working with others on the left or doing anything perceived as radical – even if it’s in the national interest to do so. Harold Wilson once said, “Labour is nothing if it is not a radical party”. What would he say if he could see Westminster Labour now?

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago

No. He doesn’t approve of working with nationalists. He explicitly warned Scottish Labour not to do a deal with the SNP. I suspect he doesn’t approve of Welsh Labour’s deal with Plaid Cymru.

Last edited 1 month ago by SundanceKid
Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

Given jo stevens pointed silence on the deal it’s not unreasonable then to see her appointment as shadow welsh sec by starmer as a indicator of uk labour’s hostility to the deal.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

It’s time Welsh Labour became fully Welsh and cut it’s ties with its UK counterpart. UK Labour is too interwound with Westminster and Westminster is becoming more and more an English Parliament.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Welsh Labour becoming independent from UK Labour MUST be part of the deal.
They have accepted the independence of SDLP in NI.
Welsh Labour can still be part of the Social democrats & socialist group in Europe and the Socialist International, just as SDLP, English Labour, Scottish Labour and German SPD.

Treating Wales differently than Ireland & NI is simply discrimination.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago

I should also point out, if the Welsh Liberal democrats still want the Welsh people to ‘conform’ to the UK – that is actually in breach of their party’s constitution as printed on the LD membership card.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

Westminster MP ‘s are becoming less relevant to us by the hour, as we see a reduction in numbers representing us, and the radical reforms needed to help the country move forward coming from our own Gov in Cardiff bay. Is it any wonder that they remain silent , when they basically have no input into our daily lives on the things that matter to us in Wales.

Gaynor
Gaynor
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

They have always been thus, . 5th columnists, bar some principled figures who have sadly moved on to that chamber in the sky

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

An autonomous Welsh Labour is essential. Unfortunately there are too many house of Lords wannabees infesting the UK party.

Glen
Glen
1 month ago

Why is anyone surprised?
Labour is just as much a unionist party as the Tories.
Anyone who thinks differently is deluding themselves.

For Wales to become independent dopey Plaid has to defeat Labour, not jump into bed with them.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Glen

I’m a plaid member. It may not be the way you like it but it makes sense in the long run, Labour has too much support still and unlike Labour in Scotland is a more independent spirited party. I really do dislike Starmers new Labour though and I’m not alone judging by the polls that only give them a small lead over the appalling tories

Jack Bryn
Jack Bryn
1 month ago

Vital to remember that Labour is a British Nationalist party, so any deal with Plaid Cymru is an anathema to many of its core representatives.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
1 month ago

How are the divorce talks going on with the English nationalist Westminster Labour Party ?

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago

Welsh Labour better take this co-operation agreement in good faith.

Otherwise, Plaid Cymru should pull out of the agreement.

Not standing up for your party’s principles was a mistake that Nick Clegg made.

Tomas Stanger
Tomas Stanger
1 month ago

Unsurprising really the Westminster Labour Party don’t like making deals. Previous leaders have point blank refused (including Corbyn) to make deals/alliances with other parties.

As a former Labour Party member, there’s a lot of tribal attitudes and grudges within the party, who basically need to grow up and move on.

R W
R W
1 month ago
Reply to  Tomas Stanger

It’s hard to imagine an electoral pact with Labour when so many “Welsh Labour MPs” seem to be almost as bad as their Tory counterparts!!

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
1 month ago

I don’t see any labour MPs including Welsh labour MPs speaking up in parliament about the Welsh government having to pay to make the coal waste tips safe and remember that it was the labour government that took the money from the dead children of Aberfan public fund to make the tip’s safer I never voted labour again

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

And this is why Wales will never have a voice at Westminster with our Labour MPs. All they care about is England and expenses. And where Plaid Cymru & Welsh Labour put their differences to one side to agree a way foreward to protect Wales sovereignty from Tory attacks , our Westminster Labour MPs sit on their grubby hands, who are stuck in the 1970s with their insular them & us mindset. If I were Mark Drakeford & Welsh Labour, I’d break away from being an English Labour appendage, and like Plaid Cymru’s ambition for Wales, gain your independence. You… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Cymro

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.