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BBC Wales Live Debate

Lara Stace
Lara Stace

BBC Wales Live was in Wrexham this week, and discussed topics including Brexit, security and austerity. The panel and audience also discussed the voting system in Westminster, and how trust in politics can be restored. On support for other parties, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said that Plaid Cymru would never prop up a Conservative Government.

Brexit was foremost in people’s minds this election. The Conservatives’ Fay Jones suggested that people on the doorstep want to see ‘Brexit done’ so that attention can shift to other issues, while David Hanson came under fire on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘neutral’ position on Brexit and Rhun ap Iorwerth AM voiced concern that the General Election will be considered a proxy vote for Brexit. Nathan Gill MEP described Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal as the “second worst deal in history”, despite the Brexit Party standing aside for the Conservatives in some constituencies, and pressed that Brexit is leaving with either no deal or a trade deal – “a clean break Brexit”. Steffan John said the Liberal Democrats recognise they are unlikely to win the overall majority required to fulfil their ‘Revoke Article 50’ pledge, but added that the party is in favour of a second referendum. The audience questioned how a second referendum qualifies as undemocratic, particularly as this is the third General Election in four years.

On the recent terror attack in London, David Hanson said greater investment is needed in probation, policing and preventing radicalisation, whereas Nathan Gill wanted to see longer and life sentences. Fay Jones had to defend Boris Johnson’s politicisation of the event and, after repeated comments from the audience, she said Johnson had been wrong to attempt to score political points from the tragedy. The Conservative Party also came under fire from an audience member on their treatment of the Armed Forces and emergency services. Rhun ap Iorwerth said policing should be devolved to Wales and maintained that the system should be under Welsh control, when pressed on the convicted terrorist who carried out the attack in London last Friday.

Discussing support for small business and taxation, Steffan Jones said the Liberal Democrats would introduce a Land Value Tax, in addition to an extra penny on income tax to fund the NHS. Nathan Gill said the Brexit Party would exempt businesses that pay less than £10,000 in corporation tax, which he claimed would be funded by cancelling HS2 and no longer paying money to the EU – he was criticised by Steffan Jones, who said that the economic impact of Brexit alone will damage such businesses. David Hanson said Labour would raise corporation tax to 26%, the level it was at in 2011, and the income would be spent on housing, education and other public services. Fay Jones said there needs to be a standard business rate across Wales. Rhun ap Iorwerth did not provide specific detail, but said that taxation forms part of a package of changes to support business, such as planning regulation and education.

Concluding the debate with what their New Year’s Resolutions will be, notably a significant portion of the panel wished to step back from politics and spend more time with their families.

For a bird's eye view.
Am olwg oddi uchod.

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