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First Minister calls for a second EU referendum

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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.

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Electrician has ‘fallen from height’ at Neyland Community Hub

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EMERGENCY SERVICES are attending to an injured electrician who has fallen from a height at Neyland Community Hub, whist working on the project.

The air ambulance has been called and is now in Neyland, ready to medivac the casualty.

Cllr Paul Miller, Development Director at Neyland CIC said in a statement: “This afternoon one of our electrical contract staff has unfortunately fallen from height during the course of his work. He has been attended to on site by paramedics and is currently being prepared for “transfer to hospital by air ambulance.

“The thoughts of everyone at Neyland CIC are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

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Local politician reacts to Corbyn’s suspension

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A LOCAL politician has commented on Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour party.

With the announcement that former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the party, local parties have reacted.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who became leader in April, suspended predecessor Jeremy Corbyn from the party after Corbyn said the scale of it’s anti-Semitism problem had been dramaticall overstated.

In an official statement, Labour said that the suspension came after Corbyn’s failure to retract his words.

Jeremy Corby reacted to the suspension by stating he was going to strongly contest it, calling the move ‘political’.

Corbyn in Haverfordwest before election

Commenting on the news that Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the Labour Party after an inquiry found the party was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” during his time in charge, Paul Davies MS, Leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament said:

“Mark Drakeford was the first Senedd Member to back Jeremy Corbyn for leader of the Labour Party. He needs to confirm whether he supports Sir Keir Starmer in suspending Corbyn or if he backs his political idol.

“The Jewish community in Wales, alongside all those who have fought against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, deserve to know whether he’s with them or against them.”

The decision was made by Starmer following the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report.

Speaking on the findings, Starmer said the report had brought forward a day of shame for the Labour party.

The report found 23 instances of what they called ‘inappropriate involvement’ by Corbyn’s office – with the Labour party responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act.

These were: Failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints, Harrassment and political interference in Anti-Semitism complaints.

Speaking on the suspension, Jeremy Corbyn said: “I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me. I’ve made absolutely clear that those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.

“It’s also undeniable that a false impression has been created of the number of members accused of antisemitism, as polling shows: that is what has been overstated, not the seriousness of the problem.

“I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism. And I urge all members to stay calm and focused – while this problem is resolved amicably, as I believe it will be – to defeat this awful government, which is further impoverishing the poorest in our society.

The implementation of the recommendations following the report will be ‘as soon as possible in the New Year’ promises Sir Kier.

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Penally asylum seekers warned for breaking Fire-Break Lockdown rules

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POLICE have warned asylum seekers staying at Penally camp that there is currently a Firebreak Lockdown in Wales, and that they must follow the rules or face legal action.

Residents in Penally have said that they have groups of asylum seekers from the facility walking through the village.

“They were shouting, and drinking with a police van following them” one resident said.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police issued the following statement on the incident: “On the evening of Tuesday, October 27, police were made aware that a number of men were on the village green in Penally, breaking the current Welsh Government restrictions.

“The men, from the Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre, were spoken to and advised to return to their accommodation. Officers followed the men to ensure they returned to the centre.

“Officers will always aim to engage, educate and encourage adherence to the national measures with enforcement being the last action.

“The management team at the centre will be advised so that the firebreak requirements can be reinforced to the service users resident at the centre,” they added.

Last weekend police issued a fixed penalty notice to a female who was deemed to be breaking the current lockdown rules by traveling to the Centre.

A spokesman told The Pembrokeshire Herald said: “A female who was spending time with the asylum seekers over the weekend was advised about her non-essential travel to the asylum accommodation centre”

“After failing to adhere to a warning she was issued with a Covid fixed penalty notice and made to leave the area.”

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