Welsh voters reject idea of national veto in EU referendum

Welsh voters reject the stance taken by Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.

Welsh voters reject the stance taken by Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon

A majority of voters in Wales do not believe the nations should have a veto in any future referendum on membership of the EU, according to a new poll.

With David Cameron pledged to hold a vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union by at least 2017, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has argued that the UK should not be allowed to withdraw from the EU if the UK votes yes but Scotland votes no.

Her arguments have also been shared by Plaid Cymru in Wales. Writing for the Huffington Post two years ago, the party’s leader Leanne Wood called for the results of the referendum to be broken down by nation.

“An English vote for exit,” she said “should not – by dint of sheer numbers – be able to trump a desire in Wales to stay in.”

Against this backdrop, a poll by Beaufort for research for the Western Mail has found that 55 per cent of Welsh voters feel that an overall majority across the UK in favour of leaving the EU would be sufficient to leave. A third (32 per cent) feel the UK should only leave if a majority of voters in each nation vote to do so.

The remaining 13 per cent didn’t give an opinion.

In November, Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones said that proposals to give the nations an effective veto in a referendum were “worth considering”.

In 2013, polling by Beaufort again for the Western mail found that 37 per cent of people in Wales would vote to leave the EU while just 29 per cent would vote to stay in.

The findings come against a backdrop of a growing UKIP presence in Wales. In last year’s European Parliamentary Elections the party polled over 27.5 per cent of the votes cast, coming a narrow second behind Labour.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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