Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru finalise co-operation deal in the Senedd

Labour and Plaid Cymru had been in discussion over the summer around policies they could work together on. Credit: PA

An agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru to work together has come a step closer with the ruling bodies of both parties giving the thumbs up to the plan.

It means the deal which would see the parties cooperating in Welsh Government is likely to be announced Monday 21 November.

The agreement is thought to focus on a range of policies rather than seeing senior Plaid Cymru figures such as leader Adam Price taking cabinet positions in a full coalition government.

It is said to include free childcare, plans to introduce rent controls, free school meals for all primary school pupils, the creation of a national care service, replacing council tax, increasing the number of Senedd members and changing the way they're elected, measures to tackle second homes and steps to transfer power over broadcasting to Wales. 

The miners will take their demonstration to the Senedd on Tuesday July 5. Credit: PA

The Conservatives have strongly criticised the agreement saying it will "inflict ... despair" on Wales and cause "constitutional chaos."

After May's election, Labour remained the largest party in the Senedd and has since formed the Welsh Government alone. 

But it doesn't have a majority of seats in the chamber and so is at risk of failing to get through some of its plans if the other opposition parties join forces to vote against them. 

That reality was shown clearly in last month's vote on covid passes when Plaid Cymru's decision to oppose the Welsh Government proposal almost saw it being blocked altogether.

Only the failure of a single Conservative MS to vote meant that the motion passed.

The deal has been discussed by the ruling bodies of both parties this weekend and, I understand, given strong support. 

I'm told that Plaid Cymru's National Executive Committee (NEC) ratified the proposed agreement when it met on Saturday. There's no official confirmation from Plaid Cymru yet. Its members will also vote on the proposal next Saturday. 

I understand that there was "solid support" for the deal at a meeting of Labour's Welsh Executive Committee (WEC) and that members saw it as strengthening their party's ability to deliver their election manifesto.

There's not expected to be any public comment until the deal is formally announced. 

However one WEC member, Darren Williams, reported on his blog that the agreement had been "overwhelmingly endorsed."In his post he writes that "Mark Drakeford ... explained that the choice was not between having an agreement of this kind or doing without an agreement altogether; it was between a long-term agreement like this, which could provide political stability for the duration of the Senedd term and enable Labour to get its programme through, or ad hoc agreements with other parties on an issue-by-issue basis."

Full details are expected to be announced on Monday 22 of November.

On Friday the First Minister told our National Correspondent Rob Osborne that the "discussions have been detailed, they have focused on a common policy programme that might be agreed between us and then the machinery of government that would lie behind it."

Full details of the agreement won't be known until it's announced formally but it's thought to involve the appointment of Plaid Cymru special advisers (SpAds) to Welsh Government in order to implement the policies. 

It's also likely to be time-limited. The former Labour Welsh Government minister, Andrew Davies, told BBC Wales that he understood it would only last while Mark Drakeford is in post as First Minister.

He's said that he will stand down at some stage before the next Senedd election.

The decision of Labour and Plaid Cymru to join forces has been strongly criticised by the Welsh Conservatives.

A spokesperson said: “This is not a deal that works for Wales, it's a deal that works for Mark Drakeford and Adam Price, a man who only back in April said another five years of Labour in power filled him with despair.

“Price has now decided to inflict that despair on the rest of the nation, and this deal is remarkable for its absence of solutions to fix the NHS – currently experiencing its worst performance on record – or improve the economy in Wales.

“As for Labour, instead of focusing on the issues that matter most to the people of Wales, they’re cosying up to the divisive nationalists in an attempt to pave the way for more politicians and powers in Cardiff Bay.

“Labour’s latest deal with the nationalists does not deliver on the priorities of working families across Wales, and will only cause constitutional chaos that risks holding back our economic recovery.”