Wales politics

EU election: Labour 'in danger of handing Farage victory' say AMs

Labour Party badge Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The leaflet "set out our commitment to Leave and Remain voters to bring our country together", Labour said

Two Welsh Labour AMs have warned their party is in danger of handing victory to Nigel Farage unless it pledges to campaign for a further referendum in the European elections.

Lynne Neagle and Alun Davies spoke after a draft campaign leaflet emerged that did not mention the proposal.

Ms Neagle, AM for Torfaen, warned the party would lose remain voters.

Labour said the leaflet sets out the party's commitment to "bring our country together".

The draft Labour leaflet, initially published on the Huffington Post website and featuring UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said the election was a chance for voters to "tell the Tories you are fed up with their divisive and incompetent government".

'Staggering'

A bilingual version of the leaflet - a product of Labour in London rather than Cardiff - will be distributed in Wales with the same images and Welsh Labour branding, but without a reference to Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford.

A senior Welsh Labour figure said the leaflet was "staggering" and that Mr Drakeford should be in it.

"We should actually set out our policy on the big issue of the day in what are, after all, European elections," the source said.

Image caption Labour AM Lynne Neagle warned the party was in danger of handing Nigel Farage "victory on a plate"

Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle said: "We are in danger of handing Farage victory on a plate by not having the courage to speak out for a People's Vote."

Former UKIP leader Mr Farage has formed the Brexit Party to fight the European elections.

Ms Neagle told BBC Wales it would be "unthinkable for us to go into these European elections without a clear commitment" on a further poll, warning the party will lose the votes of those who want "a clear position".

Ms Neagle said she knew of one party member who had resigned over the draft leaflet.

She added she was pleased that the four candidates on the Welsh Labour list for the election were backing a further referendum, but said the "mixed messages" from the party centrally were "dangerous".

Alun Davies, Blaenau Gwent AM, said on Twitter if the party expects "any of us to distribute this material it will need to change".

"I'm not going to support a campaign that doesn't reflect the position of Welsh Labour or UK Labour," he added. The party committed to keep a further referendum on the table at a party conference last year.

A Labour spokesperson said: "It is a short pre-manifesto leaflet to introduce our candidates and set out our commitment to Leave and Remain voters to bring our country together.

"It highlights how the Tories' chaotic handling of Brexit has left our country in crisis and how our MEPs will fight for proper investment in communities, housing, jobs and industries.

"Our full manifesto, which will address the issues of a Brexit deal and the circumstances of a referendum, will be published after the local elections [in England]."

The European Parliament elections in Wales

Image copyright Getty Images

There are eight parties fighting for four MEPs in the planned European elections in May.

Welsh Labour, the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Green Party are joined by new groupings Change UK and the Brexit Party.

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