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  1. ITV Report

'Brexit tearing UK apart', Drakeford tells Labour conference

Mark Drakeford was addressing the Labour Part Conference in Brighton Photo: ITV Wales

First Minister Mark Drakeford has claimed that the bonds that keep the four nations of the UK together are being torn apart by Brexit and by what he called "successive couldn’t-care-less Tory governments".

His speech to the Labour party conference was seen by his supporters as a chance for him to set out Welsh Labour's distinct approach after bruising few days of internal arguments in the party.

In a sharp rebuke to the party's national executive for over-riding Welsh Labour on MPs' reselection, he observed that if they want to see a UK founded on solidarity, equality and respect, "we should want to see it in our party too".

One AM commented that "I like this newly emboldened Mark Drakeford".

Brexit has torn at the very fabric of the things we cherish – including the United Kingdom itself. Those pursuing Brexit have used - and misused - the union for their own, narrow and ideological ends.To drive us away from the partnerships we have developed with our European friends over so many years.

To survive it has to be Labour – it can only be Labour – that articulates a different vision for those repelled by the poisonous politics of division and despair. Our task under a new UK Labour Government must be to build a new United Kingdom. One that genuinely works for its four constituent parts.

We need, across these islands, a progressive partnership built on the things we have in common not the prejudices we’re told keep us apart. Our job always has - and always will be - to build common bonds between working people – wherever they may be.

And through fundamental reform of our United Kingdom, and remaining as proud and positive members of the European Union, we can offer up to communities across the UK an alternative to the narrow nationalism and worn-out imperialism now bleeding across our politics.

– First Minister and Welsh Labour Leader Mark Drakeford AM

The First Minister was addressing the UK Labour conference for the first time as Welsh Labour leader. His speech in Brighton came at the end of a few days when Labour itself has lacked unity.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn intervened to halt moves to remove his deputy Tom Watson from office. But Mr Corbyn backed a decision by the party executive, to take control of MPs' reselection in Wales, which had infuriated Mark Drakeford.

And the two men are far apart on Brexit. Mr Corbyn wants to remain neutral on whether the UK should stay in the EU or leave with a deal negotiated by as Labour government.

That choice would be put to a referendum. Mr Drakeford reiterated in his speech that Welsh Labour would campaign to remain in the European Union, in line with the policy of his government.