Welsh First Minister demands answers
The First Minister of Wales has warned the UK Government that it needs to make clear ‘pretty soon’ what deal it wants from Brexit negotiations if it is to secure a ‘reasonably united front’ with devolved nations.
Carwyn Jones’s comments came has he began a three day fact-finding mission to Norway, a no-EU state but which has full and unfettered access to the single market through its membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)and the European Economic Area (EEA).
With the Prime Minister expected later this month to provide more clarity on the government’s objectives, the First Minister yesterday told BBC Radio Wales:
“We want to be in a position where we have agreed a line with the whole of the UK, before they [the UK government] go into negotiations.
The last thing they will want is for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to be publicly critical of them as they enter those negotiations.
Now that’s not what I want to do, let’s get that clear, that’s not my starting point, but they will want to avoid that.”
UK ministers would want, he said, a ‘reasonably united front in order to go into those negotiations with what I would want to see, which is our support’.
“So far”, he concluded “we don’t know what their position is, we have no idea what they’re thinking, and that needs to be made clear pretty soon, for everybody’s sake.”
Shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May pledged not to trigger Article 50 until there is an agreed ‘UK approach’ to the negotiations and strategy.
It comes as results from a Sky Data poll out today reveals that just 11 per cent of people think the Government is doing a good job in negotiating Brexit, with 48 per cent believing they are doing a bad job.
Forty-two per cent of those questioned felt the government would get a bad deal from the discussions, compared to 22 per cent who felt it would get a good one.
In Scotland meanwhile, Labour’s Leader at Holyrood, Kezia Dugdale, has called for 2017 to be the year that the ‘building blocks’ are put in place to ‘save the union’.
Her remarks come the day after the Scottish government reminded people and organisations to contribute to its consultation on its draft independence referendum legislation.
Declaring that the EU referendum has ‘created divisions in our society that Nicola Sturgeon thrives upon’, Dugdale has called for a ‘new political settlement for the whole of the country’.
“With the Tories pursuing a hard Brexit, and the SNP pursuing independence, these two parties of government are stretching the Union to breaking point.
But 2017 is the year we can put the building blocks in place to save our Union.”
Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot ForwardLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.