Wales politics

EU elections: Welsh Lib Dems 'are the party of Remain'

Sam Bennett
Image caption Sam Bennett is the Welsh Liberal Democrats' lead candidate for the elections

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have launched their campaign for the European parliamentary elections.

Lead candidate Sam Bennett said Brexit would leave Wales poorer, less free and less able to shape its own destiny.

It is one of several parties on the ballot paper calling for a further referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.

The Welsh Lib Dems said they were "the party of remain" and had been "from the start".

The party is hoping its recent local election success in England will help win its first ever Welsh MEP in the vote, which takes place on 23 May.

The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said she was "deeply ashamed" of her party's support for benefit cuts during the coalition years with the Conservatives.

Mr Bennett, a former chairman of the Young Liberals who works for Swansea University Medical School, said Brexit would "leave Wales poorer, less free and less able to shape our own destiny".

"I'm not prepared to sit back and let that happen," he said.

"Every vote for the Welsh Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit."

Image caption Jane Dodds was appointed Welsh Liberal Democrat leader in 2017

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are joined by Plaid Cymru, Change UK and the Greens in explicitly backing a further referendum.

Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds said hers was the "first party in Wales to call for the people to be given the final say and the opportunity to choose an exit from Brexit".

However, Gina Miller, a prominent anti-Brexit campaigner who was linked with the Lib Dem leadership, has called on "Remain" supporters in Wales to vote tactically for Plaid Cymru on the 23rd of May.

Asked about Ms Miller's call, Ms Dodds said: "We've got a huge history that says that we are the party of 'Remain'.

"On the 24th of June 2016 [the day after the EU referendum] we said 'we will fight to remain in the EU and we want a second referendum.'

"So, if you want a party that has crystal clear said what it wants from the beginning and will continue to do that across the UK, vote for the Liberal Democrats," she added.

With some research suggesting the austerity programme played a part in driving people towards voting for Brexit, Ms Dodd said she was "not proud at all of that record around austerity and benefit cuts that we wrought on our poorest people here in Wales and across the UK."

"I was deeply ashamed of that and I still am. We have to right those wrongs in relation to supporting people who are in those situations," she added.

The European Parliament elections in Wales

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There are eight parties fighting for four Welsh seats in the European elections on 23 May.

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

You can find a list of candidates here.

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