At a packed Wales Rally For Europe in Cardiff today (Saturday), Lord Dafydd Wigley said there must be another referendum before a decision is made on Brexit. He said the UK Government is asking the country ‘to jump without a parachute’.
Lord Wigley, who is Honorary President of Plaid Cymru, was speaking at a packed Wales Rally for Europe in Cardiff’s Queen Street, that was also addressed by Jo Stevens, the MP for Cardiff Central and Stephen Doughty, the MP for Cardiff South & Penarth and nine other speakers.
Dafydd Wigley said: “What we are facing is the hardest of hard Brexits. We are heading for a disastrous crash landing.
“In these circumstances it would be utterly wrong – misguided and pig-headed – to take such an irreversible step into the unknown, without the full and final consent of the people of these islands.
“With the stakes so very, very high, there must be a final ratification process before the eject button is pressed.
“If by January, 2019 there is no deal sealed, signed and delivered – as now looks increasingly likely – there should be held in that month, a confirmatory referendum. If the people vote “Yes”, then Britain should quit the EU on the basis which the Government have recommended. But if the people vote “No”, the Article 50 application should be finally and irrevocably withdrawn.
“Then this whole sorry saga could be put where it belongs – into the dustbin of history and buried in the deepest ocean, never to be seen again. We can then return to the serious matter of building harmony and co-operation in Europe and our industry, farmers, universities and tourist operators can plan a secure future, free from the present unnerving and unnecessary uncertainties.”
Jo Stevens MP said politicians had to put country before party. “I didn’t go into politics to sit on the fence,” she said. “I’m not prepared to compromise my deeply held principles and betray my constituents by letting this weak and incompetent Prime Minister sacrifice the national interest for her and her party’s survival.
“I’ll do everything I can to prevent her from finishing the job David Cameron so recklessly started. Our children, who will have to live with the consequences of a catastrophic Brexit long after Theresa May’s time, deserve nothing less,” she added.
Stephen Doughty MP argued for cooperation across the parties. “I am proud to join Wales For Europe today to oppose the reckless, dangerous and chaotic approach of this Government to Brexit. We must stand together across party lines against a group of ideological extremists who would happily drive Wales and Britain off a cliff edge with no heed for the consequences. I will continue to stand up for my constituents and for Wales.”
Councillor Joe Boyle, leader of the Liberal Democrat group Cardiff Council, thought that the tide was turning against Brexit. The latest polls show that more that 47% now think Britain got it wrong, while only 42% think the decision is still the right one.
“Those of us who want to stay part of the EU must send a positive message, a message that celebrates the successes and the cultural openness and the decades of peace the EU has delivered,” he said.
Geraint Talfan Davies, a member of Wales For Europe’s executive committee, said that the biggest threat facing those who wished to remain in Europe was a sense of fatalism – “that nothing could be done.”
“But Brexit is not inevitable, because no nation in its right mind would give any government, and certainly not this dysfunctional government, a blank cheque. The country has a right to an opportunity to change its mind,” he said. “People turned out today because they are not prepared to have our country driven off a cliff, certainly not in a car where the driver, and the even crazier back seat drivers are fighting over the wheel.
“We all feel the pain of those parts of Wales that voted to Leave. We sympathise with their anger. But don’t tell me that the people of Blaenau Gwent believe in Boris Johnson, or that the people of Merthyr believe in Theresa May or the people of Rhymney believe in John Redwood.
“Some parts of Wales have felt the benefits of Europe less than others, not because of decisions taken in Europe but because of decisions taken here by our own governments’” he added.
Other speakers included:
- Wiard Sterk – Dutch national, Cardiff resident and member of Wales For Europe Executive
- Gwynoro Jones – former MP and lifelong campaigner
- Reverend Aled Edwards – Chief Executive of Cytun Churches Together & chair of Displaced People In Action
- Sue Ellar – Campaigner, Represent Us UK
- David Hughes & Trinidad Clares – An ERASMUS family
- Win Griffiths – former MEP and former MP