Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford will use his conference speech to call for a new union to reunite the United Kingdom’s four nations.
Tomorrow morning will see Drakeford’s first conference speech as First Minister of Wales, where he will argue that the union has been torn apart by Brexit. He will also call for a Labour government to build a ‘new’ United Kingdom and repair Brexit’s divisions.
The speech follows an email from the First Minister to Welsh Labour members, where he made a clear commitment to campaign for Remain in the event of a second referendum. He also laid out his belief that Wales’ best interests are only served by remaining in the European Union.
In 2016, Wales voted to leave by 52%. But nearly two-thirds of Wales’ exports go to the EU, the highest proportion of any area in the UK. Drakeford claims that any type of Brexit would “cause irreparable damage to Wales and its economy”.
Jeremy Corbyn is still in favour of negotiating a “sensible” Brexit deal to later be put to the people in a second referendum, and faces a conference battle in the fight to avoid backing Remain in that vote before an election.
Tomorrow, Drakeford will say: “Those pursuing Brexit have used – and misused – the union for their own narrow and ideological ends”.
He will go on to call for a “different vision for those repelled by the poisonous politics of division and despair”.
In the event of a Labour government, Drakeford will insist on “fundamental reform of our United Kingdom” as well as “remaining as proud and positive members of the European Union”.
He sees this plan as an alternative to “the narrow nationalism and worn-out imperialism now bleeding across our politics”.
This weekend, conference delegates will be debating the national executive committee’s statement on Brexit, which is likely to call for a new deal negotiated by Corbyn.