The Welsh Liberal Democrats have challenged the Secretary of State for Wales to commit to campaigning for staying in the European Union during the upcoming referendum, following doubts regarding his position on the matter.
Prime Minister David Cameron is set to announce that Ministers will be allowed to campaign for either side of the referendum campaign. But Eluned Parrott AM has challenged Stephen Crabb to campaign for a ‘remain’ vote in Wales’ interests.
Doubts have been raised about Crabb’s position after he rubbished claims last month that millions of jobs would be at risk if the UK left the EU as “wild” and “outlandish”.
Eluned Parrott AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ Europe Spokesperson, said:
“Anyone acting in Wales’ best interests would wholeheartedly back us remaining in the European Union. Wales is a net beneficiary of EU funds, upon which thousands of jobs depend – jobs that would disappear overnight if we pulled up the drawbridge.
“A large number of the jobs we’d lose are farming businesses who struggle to make ends meet even with EU help. I dread to think what would happen to our agricultural industry if farmers were yanked out of the EU on a tide of negative rhetoric.
“It’s worrying that our own Secretary of State hasn’t recognised the fact that the success of our economy and the thousands of jobs within it depends on the European Union. If he campaigned for us to leave, he would be putting the livelihoods of families across Wales at risk.
“Stephen Crabb eventually woke up to the idea that devolution is a good thing for Wales. It’s not too late for him to wake up to the fact that Wales benefits greatly because we’re part of the European Union.”
Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron MP said that the Prime Minister was putting internal party strife over the country’s best interests by allowing ministers to campaign for a ‘leave’ vote. He said:
“David Cameron should have the courage of his convictions and make the case we all know he wants to make: that by staying in Europe, Britain can thrive.
“The Prime Minister is failing to lead his own Government, let alone the country, putting his own internal party strife above what’s best for Britain.
“Now is not the time to back down. The Government should take a collective position on this issue, and if ministers disagree with the Prime Minister they should resign.
“The Liberal Democrats are the only party united in the case to remain. Together we created the world’s largest free trade area, we delivered peace, and we gave the British people the opportunity to live, work and travel freely. History shows that Britain is better when it is united with Europe.”