1. ITV Report

Plaid Cymru ends pact with Welsh Government

Plaid Cymru has ended its pact with the Welsh Government, the so-called "compact to move Wales forward".

It was agreed after the party's leader Leanne Wood challenged Carwyn Jones for the post of First Minister after the 2016 election.

Credit: PA Images

That led to a tied vote in the Assembly and the deal was done to break the political impasse.

The Welsh Government agreed to set up a mechanism to consult Plaid Cymru on key decisions.

Since then, the former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Elis-Thomas has left the party and announced that he will vote with Labour, effectively giving the Government a majority. Despite that, UKIP say they're likely to table a motion of no confidence in Carwyn Jones as a result of the new political situation in Cardiff Bay.

Here's the full text of Leanne Wood's letter to party members:

I write to inform you of the Plaid Cymru Assembly group's decision to bring an end to the “Compact to Move Wales Forward”, the arrangement that has been in place since May 2016, between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government.

The compact enabled us to have influence without losing the right to vote against the government at any point, which we did on issues including consent for the Wales Act and the triggering of Article 50. It has not stopped us closely scrutinising Labour’s poor handling of the NHS, the Welsh economy, Brexit preparations and more.

We entered into the compact with the Welsh Government when the government had no majority and were unable to elect a First Minister. The arrangement has secured funding towards Plaid Cymru's priorities totalling half a billion pounds, enabling us to implement around 50% of our 2016 nation-building manifesto. We have used our influence to ensure projects go ahead on an all-Wales basis. The compact also enabled us to shift Labour's position on key Brexit questions like the single market and free movement though our joint work on the White Paper - Securing Wales' Future.

It was disappointing, however, that the Labour Government would not agree to some of our other priorities. Plaid Cymru wants to stop the increase in tuition fees and stop the loss of so many of our graduates. We want Wales to follow Scotland's lead and scrap the public sector pay cap in the NHS. We are intent on stopping the M4 Black Route, to make sure that infrastructure spending is more equally allocated throughout our country.

Labour's managerialism and centralist thinking are crippling the Welsh economy and leaving our public services languishing at the bottom of almost every league table. They are failing to deal with the various crises in health, education, homelessness, the decline in Welsh speaker numbers with sufficient urgency, and our involvement in the Compact cannot impact on any of this.

The only way to change this situation is if there is a change of government.

The budget deal represents a natural conclusion to the Compact. The two-year deal takes us to a position where we can produce a clear alternative in advance of the next Assembly elections. The commitments we have secured represent the green shoots of our programme for government. We must all work towards the goal of government if we are to see these foundations built upon.

– Leanne Wood AM, writing to Plaid Cymru members

Carwyn Jones responded to the news claiming his conversation with Leanne Wood was 'amicable' and they will 'keep open lines of communication.'

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Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies described the decision as "more chaos from Plaid Cymru":

By continuing to support Welsh Labour’s budget in the absence of an agreement shows Plaid’s support has never been cheaper. On Tuesday they were gleefully propping up Labour, and yet today they expect the public to believe they are an aggressive opposition.

People across Wales will see straight through this duplicity. Welsh Conservatives will continue to provide real opposition to the tired and failing Labour Government.

– Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies AM

UKIP's leader in the Assembly, Neil Hamilton, called on Plaid Cymru to join with other opposition parties in a vote of no confidence in the Welsh Government. He repeated a metaphor about the political compact which caused some offence after he used it in the Senedd when the deal was done last year.

After over a year sharing Carwyn’s political harem with Kirsty Williams, Leanne is hoping that, by leaving it now, voters will forget Plaid’s role in Welsh Labour’s failures.

The question now is whether Plaid will stand up and prove they are a real opposition; by joining UKIP and the other parties in a vote of no confidence in this abysmal Labour government, which has reduced Wales to being the poorest part of the United Kingdom.

– UKIP Assembly Leader Neil Hamilton AM