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Welsh Assembly backs Conservative calls for access to single market and control of immigration

The National Assembly for Wales voted against a Plaid Cymru motion calling for “full membership” of the European Single Market this week, becoming the first national institution in the UK to do so since the referendum on June 23rd.

Assembly Members (AMs) instead supported a Welsh Conservative motion [tabled in the name of Paul Davies AM] noting the importance of “access” to the single market. AMs also welcomed interest in the establishment of new trade agreements between the UK and other countries around the world.

In doing so, the Welsh Labour Government and Liberal Democrat AM joined forces with Welsh Conservatives to overrule a Welsh nationalist motion which had recommended full membership.

It is widely believed that full membership of the single market requires acceptance of freedom of movement, and that it is also prohibited for single market members to negotiate independent trade deals with non-EU members.

As such, the vote has been welcomed by the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives – Andrew RT Davies –  who, earlier this month, urged the Welsh ‘political establishment’ to accept the result and get on with getting the best possible deal for Wales and the UK as a whole.

Mr Davies said:

“This was a bright day for Welsh democracy, and I’m pleased that the Welsh political establishment has at last heeded our calls to accept the result and to move on to securing the best possible deal for Wales.

“My party tabled a sensible, constructive, motion which sought cross-party consensus in order to heal the tensions which have remained in Welsh political discourse since June 23rd.

“We now have a collective voice for Wales, and though there will be bumps along the road a set of basic starting principles have been established.

“Not only does it send a strong message to voters that the Welsh Assembly accepts that the public want a degree of control over immigration; it also sends a signal that we now want to work collectively as a country to support the Prime Minister in moving this process forward.”