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Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood unite with alternative Brexit plan

Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood will set out their alternative Brexit plan Photo: PA

The First Minister has joined forces with the leader of Plaid Cymru to present the UK Government with an alternative plan for leaving the European Union.

The two leaders will put forward their proposals in a White Paper that they'll publish together in Westminster tomorrow but they've set out their principles in a joint article for the Sunday Times today.

Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood describe their blueprint as 'a comprehensive, credible plan based on solid evidence that centres on Wales’s priorities.'

It will include:

  • Continued 'participation' in the single market
  • A 'sensible' approach to immigration with 'more effective control' and 'a clearer link' to employment in the UK
  • EU citizens already here should be allowed to stay; 'no ifs not buts.'
  • Wales should 'not lose a penny of its current funding as a result of leaving the EU'

There's an alternative view, however, being put forward by the Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies.

Also writing in today's Sunday Times, he sets out the opportunities for Wales of a clean break from the EU, praising the Prime Minister's 'clear plan' and criticising Carwyn Jone' Welsh Government as 'an impotent First Minister' turning a deaf ear to the referendum result.

Carwyn Jones and his government’s reaction to Brexit has careered from doom-mongering and denial to dithering and confusion. Wales is run by a Labour Party that now clings so tightly to its urban Guardianista values that it can no longer empathise with the voters on which it has traditionally relied to make up its core support — voters from constituencies with high levels of deprivation, who have never felt the benefits of EU membership in the same way as the likes of Lord Kinnock.

– Andrew RT Davies AM, Welsh Conservative leader

Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood say their plan differs from that set out by Theresa May by continuing to insist that the UK remains involved in the European Single Market.

At the heart of this plan is the importance of continued participation in the single market for our businesses and our economy. People voted to leave the EU but they didn’t vote to undermine thousands of jobs, two-thirds of Welsh exports or foreign direct investment into Wales.

– Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood

The Welsh Labour leader and Plaid Cymru leader will stand together when they present their White Paper in Westminster tomorrow even though their two parties aren't in a formal coalition.

I understand that the proposals were negotiated through the liaison committee set up as part of the compact they reached after Labour failed to win a majority of seats in the Senedd in last May's election.

In fact, this Brexit plan is the product of three parties because the sole Liberal Democrat in the Assembly, Kirsty Williams, is already part of the Welsh Government.

Our approach to developing this white paper has been open and engaging. We have worked cross-party to secure support from three parties and almost three-quarters of Welsh assembly members. This white paper is not just a shopping list of demands from Wales but a sensible starting point for negotiations that should deliver for all parts of the United Kingdom.

– Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood

You can read the full text of the article by Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood here:

As the dust settles on Theresa May’s so-called 12-point plan, it is clear that far from an illuminating and informative insight into how the UK government will approach Brexit negotiations, her speech last week brought little clarity and did even less to inspire confidence.

Talking of a “global Britain” as an aspiration rather than a reality ignores the success that Wales already enjoys on the world stage. We have always been outward-looking; in business and trade, in sport and culture, Wales has much to offer the world, and already does. We need to build on this success not start anew.

Tomorrow we will publish our own Brexit plan. It is a comprehensive, credible plan based on solid evidence that centres on Wales’s priorities. It balances the message, which the Welsh people gave us — that we should leave the European Union — with the economic reality that makes participation in the single market so important for the future prosperity of Wales and all of us who live here.

Our approach to developing this white paper has been open and engaging. We have worked cross-party to secure support from three parties and almost three-quarters of Welsh assembly members. This white paper is not just a shopping list of demands from Wales but a sensible starting point for negotiations that should deliver for all parts of the United Kingdom.

At the heart of this plan is the importance of continued participation in the single market for our businesses and our economy. People voted to leave the EU but they didn’t vote to undermine thousands of jobs, two-thirds of Welsh exports or foreign direct investment into Wales.

Addressing the concerns around immigration, which were so evident in the referendum campaign, is important. We need a system that is fair, a system that people can clearly understand and, crucially, a system that does not damage our economy or public services. If we get this wrong and fundamentally weaken our economy, it will only worsen the social fabric of those “left behind” communities who voted “leave”, and that is in nobody’s interests.

We seek to set out a sensible approach to freedom of movement that ensures much more effective control of immigration while not impinging on the economic relationship we want with EU countries.

We won’t stand for Wales to be weakened as a result of Brexit It is based on a twin-track approach of establishing a much clearer link between future migration by EU citizens to the UK — to employment and much stronger enforcement of existing UK legislation — that should protect workers, particularly the low paid, from exploitation. It is also compatible with continued participation of the single market.

We know that people in Wales value the huge contribution that people from outside the country make to our economy and our public services, not least health and social care. We have been clear that those EU citizens who already live here must be allowed to stay. No ifs, no buts.

We will also set out our views on future funding: we were told during the referendum that Wales would not lose a penny of its current funding as a result of leaving the EU, and we intend to ensure that the UK government fulfils this promise.

We won’t stand for Wales to be weakened as a result of Brexit, and believe that our plan is the best route to securing a good deal for our country.

As a nation we need to move beyond the divisive arguments and intolerance that has plagued our politics for the past year. The challenge we all face now is ensuring that as we prepare to leave the EU, we secure the best possible deal for Wales. Together, we intend to rise to that challenge.

– Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood