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Wales wouldn’t have been being mentioned once ‘had I not been here’ – Rhun ap Iorwerth on election debate

08 Jun 2024 5 minute read
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage (left) and the leader of Plaid Cymru Rhun ap Iorwerth taking part in the BBC Election Debate hosted by BBC news presenter Mishal Husain. Photo Jeff Overs/PA Wire

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth, said Wales would not have been mentioned at all had he not been present at the BBC general election debate on Friday evening.

Speaking in the media room after the debate, Mr ap Iorwerth said: “I was here wanting to make a number of points, I guess for not just Plaid Cymru but for Wales.

“Had I not been here, I don’t think we would have heard Wales being mentioned once and hopefully I was able to do that, make some points that were important to be heard on the UK level, but also points that were relevant to people wherever they were listening to this because these are political principles of fairness and honesty that I hope are important to people wherever they are.”

When asked what topics in particular he was referring to, he replied: “Funding would be one.

“We talked this evening about the need for fairness in taxation and in fiscal rules.

“The convergence between Labour and the Conservatives means we don’t have really any hope of seeing change that will lead to real investments in public services in the years to come.”

Clashes

A bad tempered second election debate saw Labour and the Tories renew clashes over tax, NHS waiting lists and net zero.

Penny Mordaunt and Angela Rayner engaged in heated exchanges as the Commons leader continued to repeat the claim made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that Labour would raise taxes by £2,000 if elected, prompting Labour’s deputy leader Ms Rayner to accuse Ms Mordaunt of lying.

Meanwhile, Ms Rayner received applause from the audience after she said former Conservative prime minister Liz Truss “crashed” the economy.

Despite these attacks, the pair shook hands at the end of the debate.

Labour leader Angela Rayner (left) and Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, after taking part in the BBC Election Debate. Photo Jeff Overs/PA Wire

Ms Mordaunt told the audience: “We have got to cut taxes and we have got to alleviate the burdens on business.

“Angela Rayner’s party – Keir Starmer confirmed this earlier this week – they are going to put up your taxes by £2,000 per working household.”

Ms Rayner said “that is a lie” and added that the Government had raised taxes to a “record level”.

The pair then began to shout over each other before debate host Mishal Hussain cut them off.

“That was terribly dignified wasn’t it?” Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer, who also took part in the seven-party debate, added.

Lying

The Tories’ £2,000 claim has been criticised, with Sir Keir accusing Mr Sunak of lying about how the sum was calculated.

On reducing healthcare waiting lists, Ms Mordaunt said: “There are many things we need to do, but there are two really important things.

“We have to keep the budget strong. We need a strong economy.”

She continued: “Labour’s plans to tax your future pension, senior nurses and doctors, is going to get healthcare professionals to leave the service. That is going to lead to more waiting lists.”

Ms Rayner responded: “Penny, that’s rubbish and you’ve just said we need a strong economy – you backed Liz Truss and crashed our economy.”

The studio audience applauded as Ms Rayner, a care worker when she entered politics, added: “You made people like me redundant when we were in the homecare service.”

Ms Mordaunt also claimed Labour’s Great British Energy plans – known as GB Energy – would result in “giant bills” for voters.

She said: “It’s not just your taxes that I’m worried about, I’m worried about my constituents being able to afford a Labour government.

“Angela mentioned GB Energy, do you know what the GB stands for? It stands for giant bills, and more bills are coming with the net zero plans that Labour have.”

‘Home truths’

Taking a question about immigration during the debate, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said he wanted to offer the panel some “home truths”.

“Migration is absolutely essential to our public services, it’s absolutely essential to our businesses,” he said.

“In Scotland, we have a declining working-age population despite a net number of people moving from the rest of the UK to Scotland.

“We need migrants, and this race to the bottom on migration driven by Nigel Farage, followed by the Conservative Party and hotly chased by the Labour Party, does not serve Scotland’s interests, and it does not serve your interests either, so rise up against it.”

To applause, Mr Flynn said voters had been “led down the garden path by the right wing in British politics for far too long. We need to stand against it, we need to promote our economy, promote our public services, and do so by promoting migration”.

Reform UK leader and Clacton candidate Nigel Farage said he wanted to inject some “logic” into the discussion, to which Mr Flynn replied: “That would be a novelty for you.”

Mr Farage claimed “most of those that come in are actually dependents”, adding: “This ought to be the immigration election, because whether we talk about housing, whether we talk about the fact that rents are up between 20 and 30% in most of the country in the last four years, whether we talk about the roads, whether we talk about infrastructure, we are living through a population crisis.”


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Stevie B
Stevie B
8 days ago

The photo of Angela Rayner and Penny Mordaunt smiling and joking together at the end of the debate illustrates how similar Labour and the Tories are in their thinking.

Adrian
Adrian
8 days ago

Labour won’t mention Wales because, as an example of how they’d lead, it’s an absolute embarrassment. Quite why the other parties don’t bring it up more often I don’t know: they’re missing a trick.

Iago
Iago
1 hour ago
Reply to  Adrian

Because, for all its faults, Welsh labour are less embarrassing than the Tories in Westminster

Julia Burns
Julia Burns
8 days ago

Without Rhun ap Iorwerth there last night, Cymru would have been mentioned, BUT only in negative terms in order to score points. Rhun showed leadership qualities and a viable alternative vision for Cymru.

John Ellis
John Ellis
8 days ago
Reply to  Julia Burns

I confess that I didn’t watch the whole ninety minutes – more than I could bear! – but, to judge from the edited highlights on a variety of media which I did look at, I thought Rhun ap Iorwerth acquitted himself rather well.

So did Daisy Cooper for the Lib Dems. To judge from her performance at the debate and on a recent TV question forum, they might do worse than to look to her as a future leader

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
8 days ago

Great to see Rhyn ap Iorwerth presenting such a positive example to all. Fairness and equality was at the heart of it, good old Welsh priorities. Lets hope Plaid makes gains so Wales has some MPs looking after our interests in Westminster. The Labour lot from Wales are a waste of space

Welshman28
Welshman28
7 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Was I watching a different debate , because he most certainly did not come across as you’ve written

Riki
Riki
8 days ago

I still don’t understand why we accept the position and treatment of Wales within the UK!!! Just refuse to send politicians to Westminster, as it’s not our Parliament, it’s not Brythonic but rather An Anglo/Scoti parliament as of 1707.

Rick Bull
Rick Bull
7 days ago

At the UK level PC could emphasise that the poor quality of UK governance is the reason to leave. Some are confused how independence can mean then re-joining another union. The difference of course is that the EU works hard for, rather than tramples all over, their smaller members.

Riki
Riki
7 days ago
Reply to  Rick Bull

Exactly, the unions of The UK and EU are vastly different. One is ruled with an iron fist, the other a not so much. As a Briton, I’d rather not be in either.

cablestreet
cablestreet
7 days ago

Thank you Rhun ap Iorweth for sticking it to Farage and getting him to let his Trump persona come to the fore. To quote Cpl Jones, “They don’t like it up ‘em!”

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 days ago

Plaid’s Rhun ap Iorwerth is right. Just take the first General Election debate. The only time Wales was mention was by Rishy Sunak when he attacked Labour’s running of the Welsh NHS . Upto this point the debate was an anglocentric to the point that featured a nauseating question about England and the Euros forgetting that Scotland had qualified also , but you’d never had guessed it though. And would-be Labour Prime Minister Keir Starmer never mentioned Wales once until prompted. Not once. Also take the election coverage on TV. All the other parties are reported on , even Reform… Read more »

David Pearn
David Pearn
2 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Exactly 👍

Welshman28
Welshman28
7 days ago

Even with you being there Mr ap Iorwerth you did NOTHING for Wales, in fact your tone felt very much like a spoilt brat who cannot get what he wants. Perhaps you also might learn to be respectful and polite to your opponents.

Riki
Riki
7 days ago

The problem with the Welsh is they are the most predictable, self defeating people on earth. They are never happy unless they are talking down their own capabilities and history. Everything they do, grandiose or Insignificant is designed to get a wink and nod from the English. Like any domesticated animal, their only aim is to please their master.

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