"Extend Article 50" - Liz Saville Roberts MP

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The Westminster Government should seek an extension to the Article 50 process of withdrawing from the EU, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP has said.

Speaking at Plaid Cymru’s spring conference in Llangollen, the party’s Westminster leader said the 21-month transition period, agreed between Westminster and Brussels will achieve “the exact opposite of taking back control”, and will mean abiding by all of the EU’s rules and regulations without having a say in setting those rules.

Repeating the often-repeated caveat from the EU, that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, Ms Saville Roberts warned that the transition deal could yet unravel, given Westminster’s insistence on leaving the Customs Union and Single Market, ensuring the question over to maintain an open border in Ireland and between Ireland and Wales unresolved.

Speaking from the conference stage in Llangollen, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP said:

“A transition period was once imagined as a period during which businesses and governments could prepare for a new regime.

“Now it’s clear that it will be used to hash out the details of trade deals.

“The riskiest aspect is that it could all unravel.

“As Jacob Rees-Mogg emphasised this week, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and of course, the Irish border issue remains the biggest hurdle.

“What’s more is that the transition deal, as it stands, will mean abiding by all EU rules and regulations, without having a voice in setting those rules: the exact opposition of taking back control.

“We cannot risk tumbling out of the EU without a deal and subjecting Welsh businesses to catastrophic WTO rules just because we ran out of time.

“Equally, a bad deal is no better than no deal. 

“That is why, today, I am calling on the Westminster Government to seek an extension to the Article 50 period to ensure that an agreement on the future EU-UK partnership is sufficiently detailed and comprehensive. 

“Equally, the proposed transition period should be capable of being extended if this proves necessary too. 

“The unionist parties are fighting out their in-house battles, but why should Wales be condemned to be the littlest, most expendable pawn on the chessboard that is Brexit?”

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