Sorry Boris Johnson, but Plaid Cymru will never vote for a deal which makes Wales poorer

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

Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader

Today, the House of Commons will be asked to take a decision on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. This is a decision that will have serious consequences for the lives of the people of Wales for years to come.

Plaid Cymru took a stand against the damaging deal negotiated by Theresa May to protect our country. I can confirm that today Plaid Cymru will once again vote against this so-called ‘new deal’.

No matter how Boris Johnson tries to present this, it is nothing more than a re-heated version of the old deal only this time it is worse as it comes with a hard border in the Irish Sea. This latest iteration also contains fewer protections for food and environmental standards, consumer protection and workers’ rights.

The UK Government’s own modelling, undertaken in 2018, showed that a looser relationship with the EU under a Free Trade Agreement type deal – which Boris Johnson’s deal aims for – would see a 5.5% hit to the Welsh economy in the next 14 years. This would see billions wiped off the Welsh economy, likely costing Welsh households thousands of pounds in lost wages and rising prices.

We cannot in good faith vote for a deal that we know will cost people their jobs and wages, devastate our agricultural and manufacturing industries and deny us of our rights to live, study and work across Europe.

Poor

A particular concern for Wales, is the creation of a border down the Irish sea, creating huge uncertainty and economic barriers for Welsh ports and exporters. At the moment more than 70% of Irish freight cargo passes through Wales and Holyhead is the UK’s second largest roll-on roll-off port after Dover. All this is threatened by Boris Johnson’s plans.

This deal is manifestly unfair to the people of Wales. While it provides Northern Ireland with a ‘soft Brexit’ cushion and the option to vote on its relationship with Europe every four years, Wales does not get a single mention in the hundreds of pages of legal documents.

Instead, Wales will face the full brace of challenges associated with a ‘hard Brexit’. This will allow an empowered Tory government to slash environmental protections, strip workers’ rights, and flood the market with cheap, poor quality imports.

If Northern Ireland can have a special arrangement that provides them with access to the single market, Wales should be given the same option. We should be allowed to decide whether we want a partnership with our European friends and allies, or a weaker trade deal negotiated by the British State.

Mess

It is clear that no MP claiming to represent the interests of the people of Wales or the United Kingdom can back this deal. However, with the numbers finely balanced for today’s crucial vote, there is concern that Labour MPs could work with the Conservative Government to deliver Brexit.

If they do so, they will be opening the door to future trade deals involving the NHS and would be undermining food standards and workers’ rights. It would be like voting for Thatcherism on steroids.

If it is Labour votes that take the damaging deal over the line, they will be as culpable as the Conservatives.

My Plaid Cymru colleagues and I are clear in our message to Johnson. If the British Government is so convinced of the merits of this deal, they should put it before the people in a Final Say Referendum.

Today, I will repeat this message at the People’s Vote rally in Westminster where hundreds of thousands of people will congregate to show their support.

If given the opportunity Plaid Cymru will vote for a referendum and we will continue to fight for one at every turn. This is the only way out of this mess and to ensure that Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal does not succeed.

There is no doubt in my mind that this deal disadvantages Wales and I assure you that the Plaid Cymru group in Westminster will be resolute in our defence of Wales’ interests.

We will never vote to make Wales poorer – it is as simple as that.

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David RobertsHuw DaviesAndrew FullerSteve Dugganjr humphrys Recent comment authors
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Simon Gruffydd
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Simon Gruffydd

I’m glad that Plaid Cymru MP’s will be voting against this new EU treaty proposal, a modified version of May’s surrender agreement – but not because of all the FUD the Labour/P. Cymru’s coalition endlessly produce. Johnson’s ‘new’ treaty proposal does not return full sovereignty to the UK as the ECJ still holds the upper hand. It’s not what the majority of Welsh and English voters voted for.

Andrew Fuller
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Andrew Fuller

Whether you believe in leaving the EU or staying in the EU . ONE THING YOU MUST CONSIDER is . THOSE politicians and other rich people who MOST wish to leave have MOST to lose if we remain for example A .T .A .D . .From Jan 2020 anyone registering their company in another country and therefore avoiding paying tax in this country or any other EU country.WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO DO SO .An example is Jacob Rees Mogg who avoids paying tax in this country by registering his interests in THE CAYMAN ISLANDS. Yet he deigns… Read more »

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Any supra national body eventually deteriorates into forms of corruption and rule evading/breaking. EU and UK are both duds and the goal should be to get out of them and bring them down. Consider the tax take of the UK and the funds that are remitted by members to the EU and the net “benefit” to the members should be much bigger However sticky paws in Brussels and London make sure that there is huge erosion of these funds as they are diverted to pet projects. Large scale government inevitably gets drawn to a cosy relationship with big money –… Read more »

Hywel Moseley
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Hywel Moseley

I have yet to understand why the additional workload in Holyhead (by way of customs clearance etc) is likely to be detrimental to the economy of Holyhead, Anglesey or Wales. As a loyal supporter of Plaid Cymru I accept the assertion as gospel but still do not see how the argument goes.

MawKernewek
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What does “access to the single market” mean? Is NI going to be in it or out of it? I presume if there would be a hard border in the Irish Sea that means they are at least in the Customs Union.

option to vote on its relationship with Europe every four years – ‘Sisyphusian Brexit’

C Moore
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C Moore

No need for a deal to make things worse in Wales – your own assembly members do that on daily basis – what a waste of space you are

jr humphrys
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jr humphrys

Ein gofod!

Steve Duggan
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Steve Duggan

I suppose you are suggesting Westminster is better? Westminster is hundreds of years old and is still far far from ideal. I’m not expecting perfection from an institution that’s just 20 years old but with independence we have the opportunity to make it world class – the slate will be clean.

David Roberts
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David Roberts

Liz…..a well written article, as ever……….a genuine question……

“would see a 5.5% hit to the Welsh economy in the next 14 years”

That equates to a mere 0.39% per year…..so less than half a percent a year…..it’s tiny isn’t it?!?

Mr/Mrs Average will be unlikely to notice it, wouldn’t they?

Compared to the rest of the problems Wales faces, this is a non issue, don’t you think?

Diolch 🙂