Plaid ‘cannot be ignored’ but Brexit Party leads polls
PLAID CYMRU leader and Carmarthenshire AM Adam Price says the party cannot be ignored in the wake of the European elections.
Meanwhile Welsh Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford has come out unequivocally in favour of a further EU referendum after his party suffered a humiliating defeat in the European Parliament election, coming third in Wales behind the Brexit Party and Plaid Cymru.
The Brexit Party, with 32.5% of the vote, saw two MEPs elected in Wales – Nathan Gill, first elected in 2014 for Ukip, and James Wells, a former senior manager with the ONS in Newport.
Plaid Cymru’s Jill Evans (19.6%) retained her seat and Labour’s new lead candidate Jackie Jones narrowly took the fourth with 15.3% of the vote.
The Brexit Party topped the polls in 19 out of 22 Welsh councils, with Plaid Cymru coming top in Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Anglesey.
Mr Drakeford in a statement said: “Ever since the Martin Shipton referendum in 2016, the Welsh Government has respected the result by arguing for a form of Brexit which would protect Welsh jobs and our economy.
“Labour colleagues in Westminster have done the same, most recently in negotiations with the UK Government.
“The election of a new Conservative leader changes all of that. It eliminates the chances of any agreed form of Brexit, and it hugely increases the very real danger of a catastrophic no-deal exit from the EU. We cannot and will not stand by while that takes place.
“Faced with the damage of a hard-line Tory Brexit, Welsh Labour believes that the final decision must be made by the public in a referendum.”
In Carmarthenshire, the Brexit Party took 32.8% of the vote ahead of Plaid Cymru with 31.1%. Third were Labour with 12.5%, The Lib Dems had 7.8%, the Green Party 4.9%, Ukip 3.2% and Change UK 2.7%. The Conservatives took just 4.9%.
Plaid Cymru leader – and Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM – Mr Price, whose party got more votes than Labour for the first time ever in a Waleswide election, said: “This result is a signal which cannot be ignored.
“There is no way that Brexit can continue to be considered the settled will of the people. The Tories should wake up, and the Labour leadership should get out of the way, and allow the people a Final Say referendum.
“Plaid Cymru stood in this election as the only pro-Remain, pro-People’s Vote party that could win. The people of Wales heard our message and responded by voting for us in their tens of thousands, many of them for the first time ever.”
A triumphant Mr Gill said: “This was a historic result that has sent shockwaves through Wales with the Brexit Party winning 19 of Wales 22 local authorities.
“For only the second time since 1918, Labour have failed to win an election in Wales.
“Three years ago the people of Wales voted to leave the European Union. They’ve been ignored, and now Wales’s pro-Brexit majority have elected two great Brexit Party MEPs.”
Ballot papers are counted for the Wales count in the European Parliament elections.