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  1. ITV Report

We should stay in EU rather than leave with no deal says First Minister

Mark Drakeford says that at the last moment, he'd sooner overturn the referendum than leave the EU with no deal. Credit: Senedd TV

First Minister Mark Drakeford has told AMs that if the only alternative is to see the UK crash out of the EU with no deal, he'd want to see the Article 50 process revoked and Britain permanently remain part of the European Union, overturning the 2016 referendum without a second vote. But he said it would have to be at the final moment before Brexit, because of what he called the profound political and constitutional consequences.

It would reverse the referendum without the possibility of going back to ask people in this country what they thought of that decision. It would have to be unequivocal and unconditional. You are removing the intention to leave the European Union in a way that you could not go on to reverse. So, it's really important that people grasp the seriousness of that course of action.

Because of the serious impact that a crash-out Brexit would have on people here in Wales, at that point, if I were casting a vote, I would cast it for revocation, because the consequences are so catastrophic for families in Wales. But for me, it would absolutely have to be that we knew we were in that final moment, because the constitutional and political consequences of using that course of action are really very, very profound.

– First Minister Mark Drakeford AM

Mr Drakeford was responding to the Plaid Cymru Leader, Adam Price, who welcomed what he called a "message on revocation as a final means of avoiding catastrophe". But he criticised the First Minister for not responding to a question about the Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour, Carolyn Harris, who was one of 24 Labour MPs not to back a second referendum in a vote at Westminster.

Had they voted in line with Labour Party policy and indeed the Labour whip last night, it would have given a clear majority in favour of a people's vote. In particular, do you regret, as leader of the Labour Party in Wales, that your deputy, Carolyn Harris MP, failed to back party policy? And is it your view that her position is now untenable as deputy leader of the Labour Party in Wales?

– Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price AM
Adam Price claimed that Carolyn Harris' position as Welsh Labour Deputy Leader is now untenable. Credit: Senedd TV

Afterwards, Mr Price said Ms Harris had failed to back Labour Party policy and the First Minister had failed to back her, leaving her in an "untenable" position as Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour. The Swansea East MP is also her party's Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities at Westminster and she has not been sacked for breaking the whip.

Carolyn Harris remains a shadow minister despite the convention that frontbenchers have to resign or be sacked if they defy the party whip. Credit: PA

ITV Wales News understands that many Labour MPs are furious that Carolyn Harris and other rebel frontbenchers haven't been sacked. She hasn't been commenting today on last night's votes but is likely to come under fresh pressure as Brexit plays out at Westminster and in the wider Labour Party.