Wales politics

EU elections: Labour says 'back us to stop far right'

Jackie Jones and Eluned Morgan
Image caption Jackie Jones and Eluned Morgan meeting voters in Llanelli

Welsh Labour is calling on voters to back the party in the European elections "to stop far right parties from winning more seats".

Its leading Wales candidate Jackie Jones said Labour MEPs elected would work to combat climate change, protect food and animal welfare standards and for peace and stability across Europe.

Labour ministers had created thousands of Welsh jobs with EU cash, she said.

Ms Jones also predicted Labour would not reach a Brexit deal with the PM.

Ms Jones was campaigning in Llanelli, Carmarthen and Brecon on Thursday, and was joined by Welsh Government International Affairs Minister Eluned Morgan AM.

Speaking ahead of the mini-tour, Ms Jones said: "All four Welsh Labour European candidates are committed to ending Tory austerity, investing in communities, and ensure those with the broadest shoulders pay their fair share."

But she did not mention that all four candidates are also fully supportive of another EU referendum.

The issue of a further referendum has proved divisive in the party - with many MPs and frontbenchers opposed to the idea.

Labour's governing body agreed last month that the party supports a further referendum only if neither a Brexit deal the party deems suitable, or a general election, cannot be secured.

Mick Antoniw AM represented Welsh Labour at that meeting and said although he understands the position of the party's four candidates, "we cannot ignore the fact there has been a referendum".

During a debate on the Sunday Politics Wales programme, Ms Jones rejected the claim her stance was at odds with the party's manifesto.

"Jeremy Corbyn has himself said, as has Mark Drakeford, that there is the option of going for a confirmatory referendum," she had said.

Cross-party talks between the government and Labour have been taking place to try to solve the Brexit impasse.

Speaking in Llanelli on Thursday, Ms Jones said the ongoing talks between Jeremy Corbyn's and Theresa May's top teams were above her "pay grade" but that a deal was unlikely because the prime minister's "red lines haven't shifted".

But she said it was right for Labour to enter the discussions in "good faith".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Labour's negotiators have been engaged in Brexit talks for six weeks

Ms Jones said: "I think Welsh Labour and the four candidates, at least, have been very, very clear where we stand because we're all in favour of having one final say about whether this terrible Tory deal that we've got on the table at the moment is what the people voted for.

"Party policy is that we would go back to the people if there was a bad deal on the table, which there is, if there's no general election - do you think the Tories are going to call a general election now?

"I don't think so. Not in a million years, I would say. So, therefore the option that is there on the table - and I've been there for a while - is that we need a final say."

Challenged on the difference between her and the party's position on another referendum, Ms Jones conceded: "Maybe we're a step ahead of the party policy as it was decided way back [at the party's conference in Labour in September]."

Labour is defending one of the four Welsh seats in the European Parliament.

Apart from when the party lost to the Conservatives in 2009, Labour has won every Welsh election to the European Parliament.

The European Parliament elections in Wales

Image copyright Getty Images

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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