Davies: "Wales is missing an opportunity to shape the EU debate"
Writing for the new political website – BrexitCentral.com – this morning, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, says that Wales risks missing out on an opportunity to shape the EU debate.
In an article on the site, Mr Davies argues that the Welsh Labour Government and its allies are pressing on “arrogantly” with their own agenda, despite the result of the referendum.
“The result of the referendum revealed a First Minister out of step with the people he represents on this issue – with 54.6% of his own Bridgend constituents voting to exit the EU – and whilst David Cameron took the brave decision to step down as Prime Minister in the wake of the result, we’ve seen no such humility from Carwyn Jones.
“Instead, Welsh Labour and their nationalist allies press on arrogantly, claiming to be the authentic voice for Wales, steadfastly refusing to countenance the fact that their world view isn’t shared by the majority of their own public.”
Mr Davies also warns that Wales is missing an opportunity to shape the debate, and an opportunity to remould the mechanisms for delivering EU funding to Welsh communities:
“… whilst the First Minister flip-flops over freedom of movement and when Article 50 should be triggered, the ground is inexorably shifting and Wales is missing an opportunity to shape the debate.
“With more than £1 billion of structural funding yet to be allocated between now and 2020, there is a pressing need to reconsider how this money should be spent. Outcomes should be paramount, not egos. And just because things have been done in a certain way before, doesn’t mean they have to be done in the same way in the future.
“Support for Brexit was at its strongest in areas which have received the most in EU funds. That’s not ironic, it’s a judgement of Welsh Labour’s failure to make a success of three successive rounds of structural funding.
“Similarly, with farming support: whilst (the) CAP might have fit when it was created, would we want to repeat its mistakes in the future – or are we better off starting afresh with a new system of support designed and tailored to meet the needs of British farmers and rural businesses?”
Finally, Mr Davies calls on the First Minister to embrace cross-party discussion on Brexit and reiterates his offer to open “constructive discussions” with the Welsh Government.
“I have been clear from the start that my party is willing to enter constructive discussions, and if the First Minister truly wants to speak for Wales as a whole then he must offer a voice for the majority in this country who took a collective decision to leave the EU.”