Plaid Cymru has accused Westminster politicians of breaking their promise as an amendment to secure continued levels of EU funding for Wales after the UK leaves the European Union is defeated in the House of Commons.
The amendment, tabled by Plaid Cymru and supported by the SNP, Labour, the SDLP and the Liberal Democrats aimed to ensure that current levels of EU funding continue after the UK leaves the European Union, as was promised in a letter signed by 13 prominent Vote Leave campaigners during the referendum campaign.
Wales receives £245 million more each year than it contributes to the EU, which is the equivalent of £79 per person, every year.
Senior figures campaigning for Brexit, including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Chris Grayling all signed a letter stating that “there is more than enough money to ensure that those who now get funding from the EU - including universities, scientists, family farmers, regional funds, cultural organisations and others - will continue to do so while also ensuring that we save money that can be spent on our priorities.”
The party’s Brexit spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards, also criticised the Tories for trying to “silence Wales” in a debate on the impact of Brexit on the devolved Parliaments. Mr Edwards was the only Welsh MP to be called to speak in a three-hour debate on devolved matters.
Despite gaining significant traction on social media, the amendment was defeated by 267 v 330.
Speaking after the vote, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on Brexit, Jonathan Edwards, said:
“The Vote Leave campaign promised that Wales wouldn’t lose a penny if we left the European Union and tonight Westminster confirmed that this was a devious deception designed to convince people to vote for Brexit when they knew full well that it would lead to the people of Wales becoming poorer.
“We deliberately made our amendment as amenable as possible to the Westminster parties – calling not for an outright guarantee, as we would have been entitled to do, but simply calling for a report outlining the impact that Brexit will have on Wales’ public finances. That Westminster refuses even to commit to producing a report shows just how desperate they are to avoid the truth being laid bare.
“Wales receives £245 million more than it contributes to the EU every year. Losing this will hit people in their pockets and it is those people who can least afford to lose it that will bear the greatest burden.
“The letter published by the Vote Leave campaign, promising that Wales will continue to get every penny it gets now, included the names of prominent Tory MPs who tonight voted explicitly against their own promises.
“It is a disgrace that these politicians can get away with such shameful deception and it is no wonder that the public have such little faith in Westminster when such deception can be accepted with no consequences. It is also to Westminster’s great shame that in a three-hour debate on devolved matters, only one Welsh MP was called while English MPs were allowed to speak without limit in a concerted effort to silence Wales and talk-out the debate.
“I am proud to have led this debate tonight for Wales and am proud of my colleagues in Plaid Cymru who stood up to Westminster and fought for Wales. We will continue to do so for as long as Westminster continues to act against our interests and disadvantage our people.”