Theresa May’s campaign targets majority in Wales

25 Apr

The Prime Minister’s visit comes after an opinion poll suggested the Conservatives could win a majority of seats in Wales for the first time in more than a century.

At the same time, Labour’s Keir Starmer – tipped as a successor to Jeremy Corbyn – is promising a new approach to Brexit, including guaranteed rights for EU nationals in the UK.

After chairing a political Cabinet with her team of ministers in Downing Street, Mrs May will travel to a range of key constituencies in Wales, speak at a Tory rally and visit a business.

Her decision to campaign in Wales has no doubt been influenced by a Cardiff University poll suggesting the Conservatives could win 10 seats from Labour.

Ahead of her visit, in an article for the Welsh morning newspaper the Western Mail, the PM writes: “This election is not about the kind of tribal politics that has held sway in Wales and elsewhere for many years.

“It is not about calling in old favours or relying on past allegiance. It is about the future. It is an opportunity to provide this United Kingdom with the strong and stable leadership it needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.

“It is a chance to lock in the economic progress we have made together over the past seven years. And it is your chance to strengthen Britain’s hand as we negotiate with Europe to ensure we get the right deal for ordinary working people everywhere. A deal that will help us build a stronger Wales, as part of a more secure Britain.

“Securing that deal is my priority and we have the plan to do it. A plan to regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders, and to be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world.”

But she will claim: “Yet our Labour, LibDem and Nationalist opponents – Plaid Cymru here in Wales and Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP in Scotland – are already seeking to disrupt our negotiations, even as 27 other European countries line up to oppose us.

“That approach can only mean one thing – uncertainty and instability, bringing grave risk to our growing economy with higher taxes, fewer jobs, more waste and more debt.”

The PM says that only this week, the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones pledged his support for Labour’s plan to add ¬£500bn of borrowing to Britain’s debt, undoing all the progress made over seven years.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn takes his case to Scotland to try to win back voters
Image:
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn takes his case to Scotland to try to win back voters

Mr Starmer, in a speech in London, will announce that a Labour government would:

:: Scrap the Tories’ Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union.

:: Unilaterally guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals.

:: Drop the Tory Great Repeal Bill and replace it with an EU Rights and Protections Bill.

Promising “a new Brexit strategy”, the Shadow Brexit Secretary will say: “Where Theresa May wants to shut down scrutiny and challenge, Labour will welcome it.

“We will work with Parliament, not against it. Because on an issue of this importance the Government can’t hide from the public or Parliament.”

And on guaranteeing existing rights for all EU nationals, he will say: “It is shameful that the Prime Minister rejected repeated attempts by Labour to resolve this before Article 50 was triggered.

“As a result three million EU nationals have suffered unnecessary uncertainty, as well as the 1.2 million UK citizens living in the EU.

“EU nationals do not just contribute to our society: they are our society. And they should not be used as bargaining chips.”

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