Rachel Banner has linked her departure from the Labour party to a comment she attributed to the Shadow Welsh Secretary, Owen Smith, that Labour has co-opted Welsh nationalism.
I have allowed my membership to lapse for the first time in 20 years. It's partly to do with Owen Smith saying that the Labour party has co-opted nationalism. I don't feel that I belong to the party any more.
– Rachel Banner
Owen Smith argued in a essay published last year that Labour had reaffirmed its position as the “true Party of Wales” by responding to a popular renaissance of Welshness and delivering devolution to Wales.
Rachel Banner, the Labour politician from Islwyn who was the face of the 2011 'No' campaign in the referendum on increasing the Assembly's powers, has told tonight's 'Sharp End' that she has left the Labour party after 20 years.
Plaid Cymru has issued a carefully worded statement reflecting the conflict between the party's opposition to nuclear power and the support for a new Wylfa power station from most of the party's members on Anglesey including the AM for Ynys Mon, the former Plaid leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones.
The news regarding Hitachi and Wylfa has been welcomed by local Party of Wales representatives and the party will, at a local and national level, continue to press for job training and creation schemes that benefit the local economy and local people. However, the Party of Wales favours a non nuclear energy plan for Wales and we remain opposed to new nuclear plants. Our long term vision is for Wales’s needs to be met through energy generated from the abundant renewable resources that are naturally available to us. We want to see the decision making powers over these issues devolved to Wales.
– Plaid Cymru Spokesperson
Plaid Cymru's leader, Leanne Wood, recently stated that the party has always opposed new nuclear power stations on new sites but gives Plaid's representatives on Anglesey the right to make up their own minds on building new stations on existing sites, balancing environmental concerns with jobs.
Leanne Wood’s silence on this today says it all. We know that as a party Plaid are anti-nuclear, and we know that their leader is anti-nuclear. Today’s announcement securing employment for 6,000 people and providing job security in the longer term is great news for Anglesey and north Wales. Leanne Wood has turned her back on hardworking families on Anglesey. It’s clear that her ‘economic vision’ for Wales does not extend as far as Anglesey.
– Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith MP
The Labour MP for Ynys Mon, Albert Owen, has also supported a new nuclear power station but does not have the backing of all his colleagues. The Newport West MP Paul Flynn asked earlier this year if stopping a new reactor at Wylfa was an argument in favour of an independent Wales.