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Theresa May says no to Wales role in Brexit talks

Theresa May and Carwyn Jones met when the Prime Minister visited Cardiff Photo: ITV News Wales

The Prime Minister has rejected calls for Wales to have a direct rôle in Brexit negotiations, saying only that she will 'consult and work with' administrations in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Speaking to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, Theresa May said negotiations to leave the European Union are 'the responsibility of the [UK] Government and nobody else.'

The Welsh Government has repeated its assertion that Wales 'must also have a place at the negotiating table.'

Previously the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has warned that talks which are only 'between Brussels and London' will fail.

But in her speech in Birmingham today (Sunday) the Prime Minister was clear:

The negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union are the responsibility of the Government and nobody else. I have already said that we will consult and work with the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, because we want Brexit to work in the interests of the whole country. And we will do the same with business and municipal leaders across the land.

But the job of negotiating our new relationship is the job of the Government. Because we voted in the referendum as one United Kingdom, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, and we will leave the European Union as one United Kingdom. There is no opt-out from Brexit. And I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom.

– Theresa May MP, Prime Minister

Her position is at direct odds with that of the Welsh Government which continues to insist that it should 'have a place at the negotiating table.' A spokesperson issued this statement:

The First Minister has been crystal clear - free access to the European single market is a must for Wales’ economic future.

We must also have a place at the negotiating table, so that we can secure the very best outcome for Wales.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

'Affront to democracy'

Leanne Wood says Wales has been denied a seat at the negotiating table

Leanne Wood has criticised Theresa May's speech both for her rejection of calls for a direct role for the Welsh Government in talks and for what the Plaid Cymru leader calls the Prime Minister's 'hard Brexit' stance.

In her conference speech the Prime Minister confirmed that she favours a 'hard Brexit' which means an end to our membership of the single market. It has also now transpired that she will deny Wales a seat at the negotiating table.

Leaving the single market threaten Welsh jobs and trade yet the Prime Minister refuses to give all UK countries proper and full representation during crucial talks on this matter. This is an affront to democracy.

Where is the opposition to this? The Labour Welsh Government has failed to command respect in Westminster and as the official opposition in the Commons, Labour seem unwilling to put Wales's case.

The United Kingdom is a deeply unequal state. Rather than dismissing rational proposals that would best suit Wales's national interests as 'divisive' as she did in her speech today, the Prime Minister should focus her efforts on addressing these inequalities and securing parity of responsibility and representation for all four nations.

– Leanne Wood AM, Plaid Cymru leader

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