Plaid Cymru withdraw from Co-Operation Agreement with Labour Welsh Government

  • ITV Wales' Political Editor Adrian Master reports from Cardiff.

Plaid Cymru has pulled out of the Co-Operation Agreement that has seen it working with the Labour Welsh Government on a programme of government for the last two and a half years.

The party’s leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said the decision was related to controversies surrounding the First Minister Vaughan Gething and what he called “a significant lack of judgement.”

In turn the First Minister said that he was “disappointed Plaid Cymru has decided to walk away from their opportunity to deliver for the people of Wales.”

The Co-Operation Agreement was signed in December 2021 by the former First Minister Mark Drakeford and the former Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price.

It was set to last for three years, which means that ending it now comes seven months early.

The relationship has been shaky since Vaughan Gething became Welsh Labour leader and First Minister.

In a statement, Rhun ap Iorwerth linked the decision explicitly to concerns about the new Welsh Government.

He said, “I am proud of the way in which the Agreement demonstrated a new way of doing politics which focused on areas of policy which impact people’s everyday lives.

“These include rolling out free school meals for all primary school pupils, expanding the free childcare offer for thousands more families, taking radical action to address the housing crisis, steps to safeguard the Welsh language, the creation of a national energy company Ynni Cymru and more.

"Working collaboratively was a constructive response to the chaos and uncertainty of Brexit and the Covid pandemic and the harm caused by the UK Conservative Government. We will continue to try to secure the delivery of policies agreed as part of the Co-operation Agreement.

“At the same time, since becoming Leader, I've been determined to hold the Labour Welsh Government firmly to account. I remain deeply concerned that the First Minister has failed to pay back the £200,000 donation to his leadership campaign from a company convicted of environmental offences, and believe it demonstrates a significant lack of judgement. Money left over has now been passed on to Keir Starmer's Labour Party.

"I am worried by the circumstances around the decision to sack a member of the Government this week relating to matters that should be in the public domain already.

“I am also concerned by the emerging approach of the Government in relation to some elements of the Co-operation Agreement, including the decision to delay action in supporting the poorest families in our communities, as evidenced most recently by the decision to delay Council Tax Reform.

Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth took over the Plaid Cymru leadership in June Credit: ITV Wales

“Plaid Cymru will move onwards with a clear and continued commitment to scrutinising Labour’s record, and with a renewed determination to put forward bold ideas which match the people of Wales's ambitions for our country.”

In response, Vaughan Gething said that "The Co-operation Agreement was about mature politics, working together on areas where we agree. While it was always a time limited agreement, we are disappointed Plaid Cymru has decided to walk away from their opportunity to deliver for the people of Wales.

"I would like to thank Sian Gwenllian and Cefin Campbell for their work through the agreement. By working together we have achieved a great deal, including free school meals for all pupils in primary schools, providing more free childcare, introducing a radical package of measures to create thriving local communities, helping people to live locally and addressing high numbers of second homes in many areas of Wales.

"We will now look closely at how we can progress the outstanding Co-operation Agreement commitments, including the Welsh Language Education Bill and the White Paper on Right to Adequate Housing and Fair Rents."

Although it never had an obligation to support the Welsh Government in any confidence vote, ending the cooperation agreement certainly makes it easier for Plaid Cymru to vote against its former partners.

The Welsh Conservatives have said that they will be seeking such a vote as soon as possible which is likely to be Wednesday June 5th.

The Welsh Conservatives are unimpressed by the news. Their leader, Andrew RT Davies said that “The end of Labour and Plaid Cymru’s coalition is simply an attempt to save face.

“Together, Labour and Plaid have worked together to divert resources away from the people’s priorities and towards vanity projects like putting more Senedd Members in Cardiff Bay, and have been hand in glove on policies like the destructive sustainable farming scheme and 20mph.

“This move from Plaid means nothing and the Welsh public won’t be fooled.”

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