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Wigley puts £1.2 billion demand at centre of Plaid's election campaign

Former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley has urged voters to back the party's demand for Wales to have parity with Scotland. Lord Wigley, who's co-ordinating Plaid's Westminster Election campaign, claims that the Welsh Government would get an extra £1.2 billion a year from Westminster if Wales was funded on the same basis as Scotland.

We are sending from this Conference and from this election in Wales, a clear unmistakeable demand to Westminster that the people of Wales insist on parity with Scotland in the allocation of financial resources in the new Parliament. It is only Plaid Cymru’s programme in this election that puts such a message centre stage. So we appeal to the people of Wales - to every single voter in Wales - to consider just how their own personal and family self-interest requires us – compels us –to secure adequate resources for healthcare, education and all the other devolved services.

– Plaid Cymru Election Co-ordinator Lord Wigley

He said that the St David's day agreement on devolution announced by the Westminster coalition was "a bitterly disappointing statement". He contrasted it with the "brave words" of Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb last October, when the cabinet minister said he determined that Wales should not play second fiddle. Lord Wigley said that instead there had been a race to the bottom, with "every recalcitrant London-centric politician" wielding a veto..

The conference closed with speeches from Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader, Elfyn Llwyd and from the woman that the party has picked to replace him in Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Liz Saville Roberts. Mr Llwyd admitted that there had been some talk by Plaid members that Westminster politics is too male, pale and stale. He said he wouldn't make a joke about his own appearance but predicted that his female successor would be part of a bigger group of MPs "making the case for Wales" in a hung parliament.

Only effective protest vote is for Plaid says Wigley

Lord Wigley is in charge of Plaid Cymru's General Election campaign Credit: Plaid Cymru

Former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley, who's running his party's 2015 Westminster election campaign, will tell Plaid's conference today that the only effective protest on behalf of Wales is made by voting Plaid Cymru. Lord Wigley will back the call by his successor, Leanne Wood, for Wales to get an extra £1.2 billion a year from the Treasury as part of a package to deliver partity with Scotland.

“In any discussion about future constitutional settlement, Wales demands parity with Scotland – full parity, not just parity of esteem, but parity of power – and parity of financial resources.

“If it isn’t immediate independence, it has to be much more than devolution – for power devolved is power retained – as we in Wales well know.

“It has to be a new partnership between nations on these islands; and we, here in Wales too, have to be part of that partnership.

“If Wales got as much, pro-rata, as Scotland gets in comparison to England, then our National Assembly would be getting £1.2bn more each year. The financial treatment of Wales has been a scandal – and this issue, above all others, must dominate the coming general election here in Wales.

“Plaid Cymru will use the next six months to demand for Wales full parity with Scotland. In funding, in our National Assembly’s powers, in our place within the UK as it evolves, and with other small nations within the EU.

“In the forthcoming election, there may be several ways in which the voters can protest, but protesting, of itself is not enough: it must be positive protest, protest to a purpose. And the only way of protesting for the purpose of getting Wales a new deal is to be voting for Plaid Cymru candidates the length and breadth of Wales.”

– Lord Wigley


Welsh peers clash over assisted dying

The first two Welsh peers to speak in the debate on the Assisted Dying Bill took opposite points of view. A change in the law was backed by the former Plaid Cymru Leader Dafydd Wigley, who has long campaigned for the rights of disabled people and who lost two sons to a terminal illness.

Those lucky enough to have the material resources and family support can go to Switzerland to end their lives, whereas those without the resources or family support have to struggle on from day to day, suffering pain and anguish with no means of relief in their reach.

The existing prohibition on medical assistance to die causes some terminally ill people to take matters into their own hands, without adequate support, and some relatives to risk prosecution for helping a loved one die.

Disability issues have been high on my agenda throughout my parliamentary career. I am clearly uneasy if this legislation causes anxiety to some disabled people. The Bill is geared not to disability, but to terminal illnesses, which generally are totally unrelated to disability.

– Lord Wigley

The bill was strongly opposed by Baroness Finlay, the Cardiff doctor who was sent to the House of Lords in recognition of her work in caring for the terminally ill.

It is not about a right to die. Everyone will die. If you do not want treatment that might prolong your life, you can refuse it. For those with motor neurone disease on a ventilator who want to stop treatment, we can manage their dying peacefully and gently as they die of their illness.

I have seen the strongest people, including politicians and senior doctors, be the most vulnerable when facing dying—vulnerable to coercive influence and vulnerable to their fears. The role of my profession is to address those fears and to support those people, not to encourage them, even silently, to believe that they should foreshorten their lives.

Today’s doctors are worn down by workload. They do not know their patients in detail. They know only what they are told in a brief encounter. They cannot possibly detect coercion from family.

– Baroness Finlay

Plaid peer calls for emergency flood cash for Wales

Plaid Cymru peer Dafydd Wigley will call for the UK Government to make extra funds available to help the Welsh Government deal with the impact of storm damage. He's been allowed to ask an urgent question in the Lords this afternoon. The wording of the question is as follows:

To ask HMG what additional financial resources they will make available to the enable the various relevant public authorities in each part of the United Kingdom to respond to the impact of the recent severe storms.

– Lord Wigley, Plaid Cymru