THE FIRST MINISTER of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has called for a second EU referendum in response to the imminent change in Conservative leadership.
After the results of the European Parliamentary Elections were announced, Mr Drakeford issued a statement, saying: “I warmly congratulate Jackie Jones on her election as a member of the European Parliament. Jackie, along with Matthew [Dorrance], Mary [Wimbury] and Mark [Whitcutt] served our party as candidates in what has been the most challenging of circumstances.
“Ever since the referendum in 2016, the Welsh Government has respected the result by arguing for a form of Brexit which would protect Welsh jobs and our economy. Labour colleagues in Westminster have done the same, most recently in negotiations with the UK Government.
“The election of a new Conservative leader changes all of that. It eliminates the chances of any agreed form of Brexit and it hugely increases the very real danger of a catastrophic no-deal exit from the EU. We cannot and will not stand by while that takes place.
“Faced with the damage of a hardline Tory Brexit, Welsh Labour believes that the final decision must be made by the public in a referendum. And, for the avoidance of any doubt, a Welsh Labour Government would campaign, in such a vote, for Wales to remain in the EU.
“We will work with any others who seek the same outcome.”
Last Thursday (May 24), Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she will quit as leader of the Conservatives on June 7, with it thought that a new leader could be in place by the end of July.
Many believe the party will elect a right wing leader who would be willing to propose a no deal Brexit, although there has been a majority against that option when Parliament voted on it before. Brexit policy was also key to the European Parliamentary Elections, where the Labour Party failed to attract votes, with its lead candidate Jackie Jones narrowly taking the final MEP seat in Wales.
The party claimed just 15.3% of the vote in Wales and 14.1% UK wide, with many pointing at the party’s indecision regarding its stance over Brexit as the reason for the loss of voters.
Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has been criticised by many in his party over his reluctance to openly support another referendum, as he attempted to appease both remain and leave voters with his Brexit policy. Mr Drakeford had been similarly reluctant to definitively back another referendum, but with this statement has gained the support of many in the party who wish for a second vote.
The European election results were also poor for the Conservatives, getting just 6.5% of the vote in Wales, and 9.09% across the UK. Governments often perform poorly in European elections, as the public express their disappointment with the ruling party, but this was the Conservatives’ worst ever result in a nationwide election by some way.
The party did not manage to come first in a single council area. The Brexit Party gained 32.5% of the vote in Wales, with Nathan Gill and James Wells claiming two of the country’s four MEP seats for Nigel Farage’s party. Plaid Cymru won 19.6% of the vote, with Jill Evans retaining her seat as Plaid beat Labour for the first time in a Wales-wide vote.
Andrew RT Davies, AM for South Wales Central and former leader of the Welsh Conservative Party, said: “The European Elections proved extremely difficult for the two major parties, but a second referendum is certainly not the answer. Labour promised to respect the Brexit vote, but rerunning the referendum would completely tear up this pledge.
“Regrettably, the First Minister has buckled at the first sign of discontent from his Labour colleagues who have been in denial ever since the people of Wales voted to leave the European Union back in 2016. That’s not leadership.
“People in Wales voted to leave and that should be respected and now delivered – anything else will have severe consequences for democracy as we know it in this country.”
In the 2016 referendum, Wales saw a turnout of 71.7% of its eligible voters, with 52.53% voting to leave and 47.47% voting to remain.
Man issued with two COVID-19 fines in 24 hours as police thank those following new legislation
A man has been issued with two fines in 24 hours for flouting Coronavirus legislation, as police thank those who are following the new rules.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers in Carmarthenshire stopped the 22-year-old from Llanelli twice for being out of the house without a reasonable excuse.
A report was made on April 1 that three men were breaching the COVID-19 legislation by gathering in Llanstephan. A woman who had attempted to film the men reported that they had stolen her phone and driven away.
Officers quickly linked the car to a suspect and traced it driving towards Carmarthen and then Llanelli, and a roads policing unit was directed to the area.
The car was stopped, and the two occupants – a 22-year-old from Llanelli, and a 18-year-old from Carmarthen – were arrested on suspicion of theft. They were also both issued with tickets for COVID-19 offences.
T/Chief Inspector Tom Sharville said: “We are taking the new legislation seriously, and would like to thank the majority of people who are staying home to keep others safe.
“The measures are difficult to adapt to, but it is important that we stay at home to save lives.
“However, there is a minority out there who are under the impression the legislation does not apply to them, and are flouting the law.
“This was the second fine one of these men was issued with in 24 hours, after he showed a clear disregard for all guidelines.”
The men were arrested on suspicion of theft of a mobile phone, and were released under investigation pending further enquiries.
For information about the COVID-19 legislation, and answers to many frequently asked questions, visit https://bit.ly/DPPCovid19
Housing support for residents
SPECIALIST housing support and advice is available to residents in Carmarthenshire who are worried about the coronavirus crisis.
This is an extremely difficult time for residents, and we want to help as much as possible, whether you are a homeowner, a council tenant or a tenant in privately rented accommodation.
We can also help if you are currently homeless or ‘sofa-surfing’ between properties, or maybe you are a key worker and you can’t return home because someone vulnerable lives there.
Whatever your situation, our specialist advice team can provide you with a range of housing options to help you.
It is very important we stay at home at present, and we understand that this can difficult for some.
Please contact us for advice if you are:
• Currently homeless
• Sofa-surfing between different properties
• Can no longer remain at your current home
• Living in a private property and can’t pay the rent
• Having difficulties paying your mortgage
• Work for the NHS, social care or are a key worker that can’t return home because someone vulnerable lives there
Our housing advisors could help to resolve your current issues or find you somewhere temporary and safe to live.
We have already contacted a number of our tenants to see if we can help. If you are experiencing difficulties with your rent, please contact your housing officer directly so they can discuss with you what support is available. All of our officers can be reached by telephone and email.
We are working closely with a number of partner agencies such as Shelter Cymru and are also looking at what we, as a council, can put in place to help residents.
Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “We know that this is a very worrying time for residents, especially when you have a home and family to look after and are concerned about making ends meet.
“However, I want to reassure you that we will do all we can to help you during this difficult time. Making sure that you feel secure in your home is very important.
“Our housing officers will provide as much support as they can and if our council tenants have any concerns about keeping up with payments, please get in touch so we can help explore all of the options available to you.
“I want to reassure our council tenants that they will not lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.”
Please call our housing advice team on 01554 899389, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, or email SCHOptions@carmarthenshire.gov.uk. Outside normal office hours Delta Wellbeing provides an emergency service on 0300 333 2222.
We are recruiting – staff needed
The council is urgently seeking more staff as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
We are looking to recruit people into a number of jobs throughout Carmarthenshire to help keep frontline services running, but particularly need carers, cleaners and catering staff.
No previous experience is needed, as full training will be provided.
The council offers good rates of pay and flexible hours. Full and part-time, permanent and temporary contracts are available.
The council also has vacancies for social workers so if you have the relevant qualifications and experience please get in touch.
Deputy Leader Cllr Mair Stephens, executive board member for recruitment and training, said: “It is vital that we keep our essential frontline services running during this crisis; and as a result, we have some vacancies that we need to fill immediately.
“We may also start to see staff shortages in some areas in the coming weeks, so we need to be prepared to fill these.
“We are urging people who are in a position to apply for these jobs to please contact us, your community needs you. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience in these areas as full training will be given.
“As well as recruiting new staff, we are also redeploying staff where possible from non-critical services to other roles as and when needed.
“I want to reassure residents we are doing all we can to protect frontline services during this extremely difficult and uncertain time.”
We want to make the application process as easy as possible, so only the mandatory fields on the application form will need to be completed along with a brief statement. Applicants will be contacted by telephone following their application.
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