Backing a second referendum days after the Brexit Party won in 19 out of 22 council areas in Wales shows Welsh Government does not respect democracy or Welsh voters, says Paul Davies, Welsh Conservative leader.
This week saw the starting pistol fire on the Conservative leadership contest that will decide who the next Prime Minister will be.
Whoever Theresa May’s successor is, this person will have the unenviable task of delivering the Brexit for which people voted.
As was the case with her Withdrawal Agreement, the interests of Wales must not be forgotten and protecting the Union cannot be a principle where compromise is seen as acceptable.
When our new leader adopts these objectives and takes back control of our borders, laws, money, and trade, the Prime Minister will have shown themselves a great friend of Wales.
By doing this, we can put Nigel Farage and his pop-up party back in its box, and demonstrate that the Conservatives are the party that can truly represent the voters. How?
Because we will have shown we have listened to people’s concerns, understood them, and acted to address them.
You would think such a sentiment is a statement of the obvious. But not everybody seems to have got the memo.
Following the European elections which should never have occurred, where the Brexit Party won in 19 out of 22 council areas in Wales – topping the poll in farming strongholds like Powys, Conwy and Monmouthshire – and receiving more than twice the amount of votes as Labour, the Welsh Labour-led Government decided to support a second referendum.
I cannot pretend the Conservatives have painted themselves with glory when it comes to Brexit, but at least I can honestly look voters in the eye and tell them when I’ve been saying I respected the result, I meant it.
We have Welsh Labour patronisingly telling voters they were lied to about Brexit, but I remember their 2017 manifesto saying they respected the result. Clearly not enough to deliver on it.
The same goes for Plaid Cymru, whose very name contrasts with their actions in representing leave-voting Wales, ignoring the votes of rural areas like Anglesey, Denbighshire, and leader Adam Price’s own Carmarthenshire constituency.
Farmers have enough potential challenges on the horizon – exemplified by the chaotic progress of Wales’ Agriculture Minister’s post-Brexit plans – especially when combined with the uncertainty Parliament has proven determined to inflict upon voters.
You need your politicians to focus on helping the farming sector thrive after leaving the EU, rather than waste time and resources to create more instability.
What this sadly means is Plaid Cymru are proving Farage correct: Eurosceptics have consistently said ‘the Establishment’ did not listen to ordinary people, and referendum results on European issues were ignored or repeated until voters returned the ‘correct’ answer.
It is incomprehensible some cannot see themselves in these words.
Besides, if there was another leave vote in a second referendum, how could the public trust politicians to implement that result when they have proven determined to overturn the result of the last one?
Yes, the challenge that will face the new Prime Minister will be immense, but at least I can write with certainty that they respect the result, respect democracy, and respect the voters.
Paul can be found tweeting at @PaulDaviesPembs