Leaving the EU does not mean giving Boris Johnson a blank cheque on Brexit

Boris Johnson. Picture by Cancillería Argentina (CC BY 2.0).

Delyth Jewell AM, Plaid Cymru AM for South East Wales

Now we know for certain: the UK is leaving the EU on January the 31st. The decision of Labour and the Liberal Democrats to grant Boris Johnson his Brexit election backfired catastrophically, as it was always obvious it would.

Plaid Cymru had warned them that by voting in favour of an election they were playing into Johnson’s hands, when the right strategic approach was to keep him on the ropes.

But both Labour and the Liberal Democrats drifted off into the realm of fantasy, convinced that they could beat the Tories at the ballot box when every shred of evidence suggested that the outcome of the election would be a stonking Tory majority.

And this is of course exactly what happened. When historians look back at that moment in time, when the tide of history seemed to be turning in favour of a second referendum, they will be astonished at the sheer strategic incompetence of Labour and the Lib Dems. For our warnings came to pass.

However, we are where we are, and our departure from the EU is now an immutable fact. So Plaid Cymru’s energies from here on in will now turn to making a best out of a situation that is not of our making, rather than wasting time campaigning for an impossible outcome.

Today the Senedd will hold what will probably be the last vote of substance on Brexit in the form of a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

The Scottish Parliament and the Stormont Assembly have already voted to reject giving consent to the UK Government’s plans, because they felt that what was on offer was not in their interests.

Having studied the measures contained in the Bill very carefully, Plaid Cymru has come to the same conclusion. We simply cannot fail to vote against a Bill we believe will harm Welsh interests. Leaving the EU does not mean giving Boris Johnson a blank cheque on Brexit.

 

Defend

Given that we now know for certain that we’re leaving and that there will be no second referendum, the question before us is not whether we should leave, but how we should leave.

Leaving should not have to mean giving Westminster the right to take away the Senedd’s powers at a whim without the consent of the people of Wales.

It should not mean getting rid of parliamentary oversight to the negotiations and denying elected representatives a chance to influence trade priorities.

It should not mean taking away the rights of child refugees to reunite with their parents, the rights of workers and the rights of EU citizens.

And it should not be conducted to a self-imposed and self-defeating artificial deadline of December 31st, which makes a bad deal or a no deal the most likely outcome.

Plaid Cymru’s job has always been to protect the interests of the Welsh nation and her people, and the fact that the Tories have won a huge majority of seats in England – but not in Wales – is hardly going to stop us.

After the inevitable cacophony that will follow today’s vote has abated, we will work with others to advocate measures to protect the Welsh economy, defend citizens’ rights and protect the powers of our Senedd.

Because although the battle for remaining in the EU was lost, the right to define Wales’ future as a nation is there to be won.

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Simon Gruffyddjr humphrysJohn EllisGwylon PhillipsCerydd Recent comment authors
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Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Plaid will be as effective as King Canute was in turning back the tide. More waffle from Jewell, no wonder politicians with their noses in the trough of taxpayer funding are held in such low esteem by voters. Get real, put forward pragmatic policies that people will vote for and show you have the support of the people by winning elections, not this posturing rubbish.

Charles L. Gallagher
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Charles L. Gallagher

I’m sorry ‘Plain Citizen (Subject) whoever you are but I’m afraid that you live in cloud-cuckoo-land and I wonder if he’she will be promulgating the same views when the full effects of leaving the EU really strike home. Will he/she dare to come back to this site and apologize – I bet NOT!!!
Unlike many, I’m fortunate that as Scots/Irish a long time ago I took out my Irish CITIZENSHIP and I travel on an Irish, EU Passport and I have a lot less hassle beyond the EU than friends travelling on a UK, EU Passport!!!!

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Are you suggesting that the massed ranks of Plaid Cymru politicians are going to stop Brexit as implied byJewell in his article? The conservatives have a large majority at Westminster so Plaid posturing is irrelevant. That is my point, not if Brexit is good or bad. You have misunderstood my comment, try and concentrate next time.

Steve Duggan
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Steve Duggan

Talk has always been cheap – it’s time for action. Unfortunately, the Tories will do what they like as they now have a sizable majority and there is liitle anyone can do about it. Especially with Labour tied up in its own little world at the moment. Brexit will happen, Wales will get poorer and the Tories will try and take back some devolved powers, especially if those powers look like they will interfere with any precious Yanky trade deal. Our focus must now be on preparing Wales for independence, laying the foundations psychologically, pumping out postive information on the… Read more »

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

I agree, if we are going to persuade voters that ‘IndyWales’ is good and to get them to vote for it we need to lay out the economic advantages, so what are they?
Voters want themselves and their children to be happier, healthier and wealthier so we need to spell out exactly the policy details which achieve that. Not the tired old politicians cliches of ‘less inequality, social justice’ etc. Tell us about tax, currency etc.

jr humphrys
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jr humphrys

Nationalise water, electricity, rail, post and bus.
Tax avoidance , the real reason for Brexit, to be met with severe jailtime.
Support Private Enterprise and start-ups for Industry.
Land reform. Family farms. No aristocracy.
Local Police.
Rejoin the European Union!!

Jonesy
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Jonesy

If Plaid want to make a start on convincing Welsh people to have some faith in them…how about some humility and grown up thinking as to how they made such a hash of their campaign in the general Election – it was an embarrassment. They are totally out of touch with the real world and the problems that face the majority of Welsh people. As a long time supporter since my childhood in the 70s and member since the 80s., afraid to say i have torn up my card. Shambolic. PC are just obsessed with pontificating on irrelevant issues, virtue… Read more »

John Ellis
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John Ellis

I can see some point to the case that Ms Jewell seeks to make: Plaid Cymru opposed Brexit from the outset and there’s no reason why, despite the calls from the right for all to ‘get behind’ Brexit now that the issue is settled, they should simply accept the course which the Westminster government opts to take in the forthcoming negotiations. Plaid’s voters backed the party in the knowledge of its anti-Brexit platform and presumably wouldn’t now expect the party to meekly yield to the UK government line. If Labour too declines to give consent to Westminster’s plans, it may… Read more »

Cerydd
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Cerydd

I like the analysis. What about the future? A Celtic union driving out the english fringe and rejoining the EU I think.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

The prerequisite for that would be independence, and my sense thus far is that perhaps in Scotland and certainly in Wales a case for that which convinces a majority of voters is quite some way from being made.

And one thing about which I’ve come across no discussion whatever is where, in the event of ultimate independence, the border would be. I don’t believe that it could remain exactly as it is at present.

Gwylon Phillips
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Gwylon Phillips

Plaid should concentrate on formulating policies and facts in favour of Independence. There are many of us crying out for some leadership as Independence is the only answer to counteract our rulers in England.

Simon Gruffydd
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Simon Gruffydd

“The battle for remaining in the EU” was lost on 23 July 2016 when the Welsh definitively voted to leave the EU. From that day on the entire political class, including Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives, did every thing they could to defy the will of the people. Their contempt for the people and election results that they don’t like was bared for all to see. Delyth writes: “Plaid Cymru had warned them that by voting in favour of an election they were playing into Johnson’s hands, when the right strategic approach was to keep him on the ropes.” In… Read more »