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First Minister risks dividing the Yes campaign before it gets off the ground - Kirsty Williams

August 10, 2010 7:38 PM

The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams, has warned the First Minister that he is in danger of dividing the Yes campaign before it even gets off the ground.

Carwyn Jones recently used a speech at the Eisteddfod, purporting to support a Yes vote, to link the referendum on law making powers with the need to review the Barnett funding formula.

Kirsty Williams has today written to the First Minister, warning him that a strong cross party campaign will be needed in order to win the referendum in 2011 and seeking his assurance that he will avoid hijacking the referendum issue for party political advantage in future.

Kirsty Williams AM, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

I am dismayed that Carwyn Jones has used his position as First Minister to introduce an inaccurate and partisan claim into what should be a united campaign. In making such statements, without discussing them with the leaders of other parties who support a Yes vote, Carwyn Jones is danger of dividing the Yes campaign before it even gets off the ground.

The Barnett formula system of funding is widely discredited and delivers a poor deal for Wales. But it is Labours formula invented by Labour and sustained by successive Labour governments.

"The issue of Barnett review is separate to the debate on strengthening law making powers for Wales.

"The UK Government has acted swiftly to ensure a referendum on law making powers takes place as early as possible. The Liberal Democrats in Government at Westminster are now delivering on our 100 year old commitment to devolve real power from Westminster to the Welsh people and we want to work constructively with progressives in all parties to secure a yes vote."