Wales politics

Brexit: 'Reckless indifference' from ministers, says Plaid

Jonathan Edwards
Image caption Jonathan Edwards says Labour ministers' Brexit response smacks of defeatism

The Welsh Government's response to the vote to leave the EU has demonstrated a "reckless indifference" to Wales' needs, a Plaid Cymru MP has said.

Jonathan Edwards said Labour ministers' approach to Brexit contrasted with that of the SNP Scottish Government.

Wales needs "strong leadership and decisive action" to ensure jobs and crucial funding is protected, he said.

Welsh ministers said they had been "fighting vigorously" for Wales' interests since the referendum result.

Mr Edwards said Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had been "decisive and proactive in seeking meetings with key individuals within the EU and unveiling a £100m stimulus plan to protect the Scottish economy from the impact of Brexit".

"On the other hand, it took the first minister of Wales nearly 50 days to set up an advisory group on Brexit challenges - the Scottish equivalent was established just five days after the referendum," he said.

"What Wales needs now is strong leadership and decisive action. Uncertainty is toxic for the economy and our already precarious situation must not be derailed further by Labour's reckless indifference towards our nation's fate."

Image caption Carwyn Jones's spokesman says the Plaid Cymru MP's comments are ridiculous

A spokesman for Wales' First Minister, Carwyn Jones, dismissed the claims as "ridiculous" saying "more sensible voices" were leading the Brexit debate in Wales.

"From establishing a new inward investment and employment fund to organising the emergency meeting of the British Irish Council, the Welsh Government has been fighting vigorously for Wales' interests since the referendum result," the spokesman said.

"Even prior to the meeting with the prime minister, our officials have been locked in detailed Brexit negotiations with Whitehall.

"This work will intensify in the coming weeks - and our six priorities, announced hours after the result, will remain our guiding principles".

'Embrace the opportunities'

On Thursday, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies highlighted a forecast by Moody's credit agency that Britain's economy would grow by 1.5% in 2016 and 1.2% in 2017.

The report contrasted with the "apocalyptic vision painted by sections of the media and leaders of the Remain campaign", he said.

"Stock prices have recovered, retail sales have spiked significantly, and analysis by Moody's now suggests that the recession we were promised is very unlikely to materialise."

Mr Davies urged Welsh ministers to "work hard to embrace the opportunities that Brexit presents".

Meanwhile former Labour advisor David Taylor has warned of the risk of an anti-assembly backlash if the Welsh Government does not include Leave supporters in the planning of its response to Brexit.

Writing on the Heat Street website, he said: "The argument about where power should lie is never settled, and never won.

"If Wales rejected the collective establishment view on Brexit and took the seismic leap to support leaving an EU that brought in so much cash, rejecting devolution would be an effortless hop."

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