Plaid Cymru challenges Westminster leaders to debate in Wales
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has called on Westminster leaders to come to Wales to debate Welsh issues on live television before May’s general election.
The Party of Wales leader says that questions pertinent to people in Wales must be included in the election debates.
The Party of Wales leader Leanne Wood warned that, with Plaid Cymru excluded from appearing alongside the other party leaders, Wales would not get a fair hearing and alternative positions would not be heard. As the debates will all take place in England, with politicians representing English seats, Welsh issues are unlikely to be voiced.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:
“Plaid Cymru is putting forward a positive alternative set of politics to the establishment three in this election. People deserve to hear what we have to say.
"The exclusion of Plaid Cymru and the SNP will result in England-only leaders debates, with Welsh and Scottish matters and perspectives ignored or pushed to the sidelines during this Westminster election campaign.
"People in Wales are set to lose most - powers for Scotland and England are already on the UK political agenda and funding for Northern Ireland has recently been considered.
"Questions pertaining to Wales and peoples' priorities in Wales risk not being aired.
“Plaid Cymru focuses on Wales and Welsh maters every day, the Westminster party leaders do not. How else can we make sure they take Wales seriously?
“If the televised leaders’ debates take place without the Welsh and Scottish parties, then there should be a debate here in Wales, with the leaders of the Westminster parties - the Prime Minister and his Deputy, the leader of the opposition as well as UKIP and the Greens.
"This is their opportunity to demonstrate that they are thinking about Wales, that they have a commitment to people here and that they are not taking people in Wales for granted.
“People will then at least have one opportunity to access to the full range of views available to them in this election, and they will be able to decide who will best represent their interests.
“Under what other circumstances will large numbers of people get to hear the case for and against Wales being treated on the basis of parity with Scotland? In funding terms, that is worth an extra £1.2bn every year to Welsh coffers to spend on our health service, our education and boosting our economy.
“The cuts to public services which look set to continue thanks to the austerity consensus in Westminster will not be debated properly unless there is a Wales debate. UK matters deserve to be looked at from a Welsh perspective.
"Some people close to those in power may be doing very well under these economic conditions. That is not the case for the majority of people in Wales. Their concerns and hopes deserve to be heard and debated.
"To claim that the currently constituted debates are UK-wide is misleading. If Plaid Cymru and the SNP are excluded, they are England-only debates between England-only politicians. Our preferred option would for Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Greens to be included, but failing that, a Wales debate with party leaders, would go someway towards countering the undemocratic England-only option.”