Wales politics

Brexit: Welsh Labour 'to back Remain' if Corbyn becomes PM

Mark Drakeford and Boris Johnson
Image caption Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will leave the EU on 31 October "come what may"

The Welsh Government would campaign for Remain in any future EU referendum, even under a Labour-led UK government, the first minister has said.

It comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to say if he would support Remain in a second Brexit vote.

Mr Corbyn's plan to stop no-deal Brexit involves defeating Boris Johnson's government in a no-confidence vote and becoming prime minister himself.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 31 October.

Following the Leave vote in the 2016 referendum, the Welsh Government initially supported leaving the EU, while retaining close economic ties to the continent.

Mr Drakeford said a future Labour government would "seek to have a different conversation with the European Union, but that in any referendum that then followed, remain would be on the ballot paper.

"The conclusion of Welsh Labour and the Welsh Labour government is clear - Labour will put remain on the ballot paper and this government will campaign in Wales for a remain outcome."

The first minister also called on Mr Johnson to confirm beyond any doubt that he would not take steps to suspend Parliament in the run-up to 31 October to prevent MPs from stopping a no-deal Brexit.

A UK government spokesperson said the prime minister "has been clear that he is not attracted to archaic devices like prorogation".

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionConfused by Brexit jargon? Reality Check unpacks the basics.

Mr Drakeford pointed to a leaked cross-government study, which warned of food and medicine shortages, months of disruption at UK ports and a rise in public disorder in the event of no deal, "reflects" the concerns of the Welsh Government.

Michael Gove, who is in charge of no-deal planning for the UK government, said the document was old and Brexit planning had accelerated since Mr Johnson became prime minister.

The leaked documents also suggested a no-deal Brexit could lead to the closure of two of the UK's six major oil refineries.

Valero employs more than 500 people at its Pembroke refinery.

Image copyright Philip Halling/Geograph
Image caption The Milford Haven waterway in Pembrokeshire is home to petro-chemical firms, including Valero

Stephen Crabb, Tory MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, warned a no-deal Brexit would make it harder for Valero to increase investment in its Pembrokeshire plant, but said the company is "not suggesting in any way" that a no-deal Brexit would mean the end of the site.

The Welsh and Scottish governments have both expressed concern over the UK government's decision not to apply tariffs - taxes on trade - to imports of petrol in the event of no deal.

A letter, seen by BBC Wales, said: "We are alarmed by the UK government's apparent absence of industry consultation in preparing these tariffs, as well as their harmful impact upon a strategically important sector, crucial to our economies.

"Losing access to necessary free trade arrangements, in a no-deal outcome, alongside the imposition of the temporary import tariffs regime risks placing the sector at a competitive disadvantage."

The UK government said it was working with the industry to prepare for Brexit.

"We will continue to work flat out to prepare for the potential impact on UK refineries in the event of Brexit without a deal, and to be responsive to the needs of all UK businesses and consumers both as we prepare to leave the EU and afterwards," it added.

More on this story