BBC Wales Live Election Debate
- David T. C. Davies, Welsh Conservatives
- Jane Dodds, Leader, Liberal Democrats
- James Wells, Brexit Party
- Nia Griffith, Labour
- Liz Saville-Roberts, Plaid Cymru
There was little new on Brexit from the panellists, with David TC Davies claiming that a no deal Brexit remains on the table and Nia Griffith saying that a Labour Government would re-negotiate a deal, which would then be put back to the British public. Jane Dodds told the audience that remaining in the EU is best for Wales, its farmers, and its businesses, and that it is about values as much as it is about business. On how the Brexit Party would contribute, James Wells said that Brexit Party MPs would hold the Conservative Party to account and ensure Boris Johnson delivers on his Brexit promises. It appeared that the largest attraction to Remain-supporting parties was their suggestion that we would never have to talk about Brexit again, if they were elected.
On trust in politicians, David TC Davies did not offer a concrete response to the Conservatives’ disputed promise of 50,000 more nurses for the NHS and the Conservative Party’s decision to change its Twitter account name to factcheckUK during the ITV leaders’ debate. Following the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ criticism of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, Nia Griffith said that the Labour leader has arranged to meet with the Chief Rabbi, but was repeatedly pressed by moderator Bethan Rhys on Corbyn’s failure to apologise. Jane Dodds reiterated the need for politicians to work together, across parties, and Plaid's Liz Saville-Roberts called for new, radical reforms in politics, such as citizens’ assemblies.
Panellists also discussed poverty and child poverty, with Labour’s Nia Griffith calling for reform of Universal Credit and a Living Wage of at least £10 an hour, from age 16. Liz Saville-Roberts said Plaid Cymru would seek for welfare to be devolved so that it could introduce measures to alleviate and tackle child poverty – however, if it were devolved, Plaid would then need to gain a majority in the National Assembly in order to implement these changes. Panellists also defended their parties’ funding commitments, costings, and tax commitments. Austerity was the buzz word during this segment, with the Conservatives’ David TC Davies and Liberal Democrats’ Jane Dodds in particular having to defend their parties’ past actions.
In relation to the climate crisis, and what investment central government can invest in green infrastructure in Wales, Jane Dodds said it is a cross-party issue and called for investment into projects such as the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. Liz Saville-Roberts did not provide clarity on the potential creation of new nuclear sites in Wales, although she repeated Plaid’s promise of no new sites (in addition to Wylfa on Anglesey). The Welsh Government’s involvement in Cardiff Airport was raised, as a potential conflict with its climate commitments, and Nia Griffith called for a green industrial revolution.
It's doubtful that the audience had any clearer an idea about the parties’ manifesto commitments and promises than they had done before the debate, as panellists largely repeated the key messages that we’ll hear for the next two weeks, and although panellists discussed Wales-specific issues such as the M4 Relief Road and Wylfa Newydd there was a general lack of certainty on these topics.
For a bird's eye view.
Am olwg oddi uchod.
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