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Tories call on Carwyn Jones to sack ministers who back referendum on Brexit deal

Andrew RT Davies claims that failing to sack the two ministers will Credit: PA

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has demanded the sacking of two Welsh Government cabinet ministers who've called for the final deal on Brexit to be put to the British people in a referendum.

He points out that Education Secretary Kirsty Williams and Public Services Secretary Alun Davies have gone beyond Welsh Government policy, which accepts the result of the 2016 referendum but argues for a deal that secures continued unrestricted access to the Customs Union and single market.

Part of the letter Andrew RT Davies has sent the First Minister

As the only Liberal Democrat in either the Government or the Assembly, Kirsty Williams, parted company with her cabinet colleagues when she voted in the Assembly to oppose the triggering of the EU withdrawal process. She got away with it then because EU withdrawal is not in the end a devolved matter. Both she and Alun Davies can rely on the same argument this time, although Mr Davies has previously been sacked for breaching the ministerial code.

Andrew RT Davies has described the situation as "chaos" and questioned how long the First Minister can continue in post. He claims that as soon as Carwyn Jones announced his departure, his authority drained away. He argues in his letter that Mr Jones should follow the example of Jeremy Corbyn, who sacked Pontypridd MP Owen Smith from the Shadow Cabinet for making a similar call for a referendum.

Ministers are publicly advocating positions which go against official Welsh Government policy ... You have sacked Labour members for far less.

Today's intervention by Alun Davies and Kirsty Williams shows flagrant disregard for the principle of collective responsibility and without any action, people across Wales will wonder if a second referendum is now your government's official position.

– Letter from Andrew RT Davies to Carwyn Jones.

Mr Davies says calling for a second referendum shows contempt for the people of Wales "who voted to leave the European Union in 2016". But in a statement, signed by the two ministers and 29 other Welsh politicians, they deny that charge.

In June 2016, Wales – and the UK – voted for Brexit. As campaigners for Remain, we regret that, but we also accept it.The issue now is what we think about the Brexit deal that the Prime Minister brings back.

One thing we already know is that many of the promises made during the referendum campaign are not going to be kept. There will be no £350 million a week for the NHS. There will not be any new trade deals ready to sign as soon as we leave.

And we know there are whole rafts of issues that were never, or hardly ever, discussed in the referendum which are now extremely important. The Irish border is one, and that is one that matters for Wales because our ports could suddenly find themselves as part of a hard-economic border with Ireland. There are many others.

For all these reasons we are coming together, on a cross-party basis, to speak out for the people of Wales and to demand, for them, and for everybody else in the UK, a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal

– Statement signed by 31 Welsh politicians

The statement was organised by the group Wales for Europe, which claims it's been signed by politicians from across the political spectrum. However, there are no Conservative signatories among the 31 names:

  • Kirsty Williams AM Liberal Democrat
  • Alun Davies AM Labour
  • Ann Jones AM Labour
  • David Rees AM Labour
  • Joyce Watson AM Labour
  • Leanne Wood AM Plaid Cymru
  • Lee Waters AM Labour
  • Lynne Neagle AM Labour
  • Mike Hedges AM Labour
  • Derek Vaughan AM Labour
  • Jill Evans MEP Plaid Cymru
  • Ann Clwyd MP Labour
  • Anna McMorrin MP Labour
  • Chris Bryant MP Labour
  • Geraint Davies MP Labour
  • Jo Stevens MP Labour
  • Jonathan Edwards MP Plaid Cymru
  • Liz Saville-Roberts MP Plaid Cymru
  • Owen Smith MP Labour
  • Paul Flynn MP Labour
  • Stephen Doughty MP Labour
  • Susan Elan Jones MP Labour
  • Tonia Antoniazzi MP Labour
  • Cllr Anthony Hunt (Leader, Torfaen Council) Labour
  • Cllr Andrew Morgan (Leader, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council) Labour
  • Cllr David Poole (Leader, Caerphilly Council) Labour
  • Cllr Debbie Wilcox (Leader, Newport Council) Labour
  • Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn (Leader, Ceredigion Council) Plaid Cymru
  • Cllr Huw Thomas (Leader, Cardiff Council) Labour
  • Cllr Rob Jones (Leader, Neath Port Talbot Council) Labour
  • Cllr Rob Stewart (Leader, Swansea Council) Labour