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Prime Minister and First Minister in war of words

The Prime Minister and First Minister when they met in July Photo: PA

After trying to show some understanding of each others' position on Brexit negotiations earlier this week, the Prime Minister and the First Minister have each told their supporters about what they see as the other's failings. In Theresa May's case, she decided to follow David Cameron's example in routinely referring to the Welsh Government's running of the NHS in a a party conference speech.

The NHS should unite us. But year after year, election after election, Labour try to use it to divide us.

At every election since it was established, Labour have said the Tories would cut the NHS - and every time we have spent more on it.

Every election, they say we want to privatise the NHS - and every time we have protected it.

In fact, the party that expanded the use of the private sector in the NHS the fastest was not this party, but the Labour Party.

The only party to ever cut spending on the NHS is not this party, but the Labour Party – that’s what they did in Wales.

And at the last election, it wasn’t the Labour Party that pledged to give the NHS the money it asked for to meet its five-year plan – it was this party, the Conservative Party

– Prime Minister Theresa May MP

Meanwhile, Carwyn Jones has followed his condemnation yesterday of the UK Government's plans to reduce the number of foreign doctors working in the NHS. In a message to Welsh Labour party members and supporters, he's accused the Tories of gutter politics.

I am writing to you with a message I never thought I would need to communicate in 2016, and that is to say that there will be no “go home” message to foreign doctors in Wales. There will be no lists of foreign workers in Welsh businesses. We will also fight against proposals to shut the doors of our universities to the brightest and the best from around the world.

The content and tone of the announcements made in the Tory Conference have been disturbing, sinister and beneath contempt. This isn’t just dog-whistle politics, it is politics of the gutter.

Brexit is a seismic and unsettling event in our country’s history, and how we react to it will be the measure of this generation of politicians and political parties. I have made absolutely clear my belief that Wales must accept the referendum result, we cannot refight that battle, but we can fight for our vision of the future. A bright future for our children and grandchildren, based on our values of fairness, internationalism and prosperity for all. The announcements coming from the Tories this week show just how vital it is that we win that fight – it is a fight for the soul of post-Brexit Britain, and we cannot allow these hardliners a free run in that contest.

When senior Tories said yesterday that foreign doctors and their families were only welcome here whilst they were needed, I said they are welcome full stop. We must reject the Tories’ terrible insult to people who work day in, day out to save and improve lives across Wales. What a terrible message to suggest that some people in our NHS, in our communities, are worth more than others.

This is where the Conservative Party have chosen to make their pitch – it is incumbent on all of us as Welsh Labour party members to be the roadblock to their plans. To show there is a better way.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

The policies unveiled at the Conservative conference in Birmingham were also condemned in similar terms by the Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood, in a joint statement with the SNP and Green Party leaders.

The countries of the United Kingdom face a spiralling political and economic crisis. At the top of the Conservative Party, the narrow vote in favour of leaving the EU has now been interpreted as the pretext for a drastic cutting of ties with Europe, which would have dire economic results – and as an excuse for the most toxic rhetoric on immigration we have seen from any government in living memory.

This is a profoundly moral question which gets to the heart of what sort of country we think we live in. We will not tolerate the contribution of people from overseas to our NHS being called into question, or a new version of the divisive rhetoric of ‘British jobs for British workers’. Neither will we allow the people of these islands, no matter how they voted on June 23rd,to be presented as a reactionary, xenophobic mass whose only concern is somehow taking the UK back to a lost imperial age. At a time of increasing violence and tension, we will call out the actions of politicians who threaten to enflame those same things.

This is not a time for parties to play games, or meekly respect the tired convention whereby they do not break cover during each other’s conferences. It is an occasion for us to restate the importance of working together to resist the Tories’ toxic politics, and make the case for a better future for our people and communities. We will do this by continuing to work and campaign with the fierce sense of urgency this political moment demands.

– Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood, SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Lucas, Alice Hooker Stroud and other Green party leaders

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