Politics World

Open letter urges First Minister Mark Drakeford to back second Brexit referendum

A group of Welsh MPs, AMs, MEPs, council leaders and pro-EU campaigners have published an open letter to the new First Minister urging him to back a new referendum.

In a letter to Mark Drakeford, they say that the “paralysis” and “chaos” at Westminster poses “a severe threat to the people, economy and communities of Wales’ and that a new referendum is “the only way out of the Parliamentary impasse”.

But during his first press conference in his new role, he told Political Editor Adrian Masters he is “not opposed” to the idea but says a general election should be the first resort.

The open letter is backed by several Welsh Labour MPs including Owen Smith and Stephen Doughty, plus Plaid Cymru’s four MPs, the Plaid leader, Adam Price, as well as the leaders of five local authorities in Wales.

It has also been supported by the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Wales Green Party, and the former Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev. Barry Morgan.

Mark Drakeford has already called for an extension of the Article 50 period beyond the 29 March deadline, but the open letter now urges him “to use your new office to its utmost to demand – of both the UK Government and the Leadership of the [Labour] party – a new People’s Vote in which continued membership of the European Union would be an option on the ballot.”

You have come to office as First Minister of Wales at a crossroads in our history. The UK faces its most serious peacetime crisis in a century or more. Government, parties and people are divided. Parliament seems paralysed by faction. Political chaos is an accurate description of what we see. The threat this poses to the people, economy and communities of Wales is particularly severe.

As Welsh Europeans, we deeply regret the result of the 2016 referendum, but the disaffection and disillusionment it expressed about our economic and social circumstances will not be allayed by Brexit. Instead, Brexit will make it much more difficult to address the many issues that impact most directly on our lives.

– OPEN LETTER TO THE FIRST MINISTER FOR WALES MARK DRAKEFORD

Theresa May

Pontypridd MP Owen Smith said: ‘Mark Drakeford has already demonstrated real leadership in calling for the Article 50 period to be extended because he knows Wales would be devastated by a No Deal Brexit.”

Plaid Cymru Leader, Adam Price, said: “Time is running out. The Labour First Minister must finally do the right thing for the country he represents – without caveat or qualification, he must come out to support a People’s Vote.”

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