Why Plaid Cymru is putting the Welsh national interest first in the General Election
Adam Price AM, Leader of Plaid Cymru
Immediately after May’s European election, I wrote to the leaders of other pro-Remain parties to seek cooperation in order to do all we can to maximise the Remain vote in Wales.
In the months since then, we have been in constant discussions with other pro-Remain parties about the extent of that cooperation and how it would work.
Then in August, Plaid Cymru made the principled decision not to stand a candidate in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, to give a single pro-Remain candidate the best chance of winning.
That decision proved crucial to the eventual success of the pro-Remain candidate – she won the seat by roughly the same margin as the vote for Plaid Cymru in the 2015 election.
And yesterday, Plaid Cymru together with the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party announced that our three parties have reached an historic agreement in this December’s general election.
Our agreement will see the Liberal Democrats and Greens stand aside in seven constituencies all across Wales where Plaid Cymru is best placed to be the single pro-Remain candidate.
If Plaid Cymru can secure Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Arfon, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Ynys Môn, Caerphilly, Pontypridd and Llanelli, as well as the one other seat we currently hold – Ceredigion – we will not only double the size of our Westminster group, but this would also be a fantastic platform for the 2021 Senedd election, after which Plaid Cymru intends to form our country’s government.
In turn, Plaid Cymru will not stand a candidate in three constituencies where the Liberal Democrats have the best chance of winning – Montgomeryshire, Brecon and Radnorshire, and Cardiff Central – and one other constituency where the Greens are best placed – the Vale of Glamorgan.
Not standing a candidate in an election is never an easy thing for any political party to do – and standing aside in favour of another party even less so.
But the decision we all make in five weeks’ time as we put pencil to paper could very well decide the fate of Wales – and whether we are able to secure our European future.
There is no such thing as a ‘good Brexit’ for Wales. Any version of Brexit would risk jobs up and down our country, and put our agriculture and manufacturing industries in grave danger.
Electing Conservative or Labour candidates will not stop Brexit. While Boris Johnson recklessly pursues Brexit at all costs, Jeremy Corbyn still refuses to take a clear pro-Remain position.
Just this week, Corbyn confirmed his government would seek to negotiate yet another deal, and his Shadow Business Secretary refused to rule out campaigning for Leave in a second referendum.
The sad truth is that Labour is not a pro-Remain party. On this, the defining political issue of our time, Corbyn and Johnson are two sides of the same coin.
That is why at this most crucial, most pivotal moment for our nation, it is our responsibility as the party of Wales to put Wales and our national interest first.
As we showed in Brecon and Radnorshire, now is the time to cast the chaos of Westminster aside and embrace the common good; to put country before party; to put people before politics.
By reaching this agreement, we are maximising the possibility of electing more Welsh MPs from pro-Remain parties to keep up the find against Brexit, and to keep Wales in the EU.
As it happens, this election also offers us the best opportunity we’ve ever had to elect the largest number of Plaid Cymru MPs in our party’s history.
Our MPs are knowing for punching above their weight in Westminster, and in the last three and a half years, our MPs have tirelessly stood up to the Westminster establishment – and put Wales first.
Because that’s what Plaid Cymru always does. Our country, our communities, and the best interests of our nation are always our first and foremost priority.
With Johnson and Corbyn, all we get is more Westminster chaos, but to end Brexit once and for all through a People’s Vote, it’s us.
With them, all we get is Wales being ignored and side-lined time after time, but to put Wales at the front of the queue, it’s us.
With them, all we get is yet more hypocrisy, arrogance and complacency, but for serious, grown-up politics that puts the people of Wales first, it’s us.
We didn’t want this general election because we know the only way to end the Brexit crisis is to put it back to the people so that they can have the final say.
But thanks to Johnson and Corbyn, a general election is what we’ve got, so now we have to make it for Wales. And that’s why we’ve reached this agreement – to put Wales first.
So over the next five weeks, Plaid Cymru will be asking for your support – to back ourselves, and our nation, and its place in Europe.
This election is an opportunity to prise control over the future of our nation out of the hands of Johnson and Corbyn, who know little and care less for Wales, and to shape it for ourselves.
Let’s grasp that opportunity now.