VoteLeaveCymru – LiveBlog

Vote to Leave on June 23 and Take Control…

Follow the latest news from the VoteLeave campaign here in Wales, with rolling updates ahead of polling day on June 23.

Updates will appear below, but you can also keep in touch with us via Twitter and Facebook.

11:30 – Monday 20th June

Two-thirds of South Wales Argus readers back a Vote to Leave

Via/ South Wales Argus

08:00 — Monday 20th June

Welsh language claims not borne out by the reality of our EU membership

Language campaigners have claimed that leaving the EU could harm the Welsh language — claims firmly denied by Vote Leave.

Vincent Bailey said:

“There are 24 official languages in the EU, but Welsh is not one of them — which tells you all you need to know.
“When our MEPs want to use their first language in the European Parliament the Welsh Government is forced to pick up the bill, which demonstrates the vast chasm between the remain side’s rhetoric and the realities of the EU.
“Funding for the Welsh language didn’t start with our membership of the EU, and UK politicians passed the Welsh Language Act and established Welsh language channel, S4C, without EU direction.
“There is no such thing as EU money, and the money we get back after top-slicing by Eurocrats would be much better spent in locally driven schemes, led by Welsh ministers who are accountable to the people of Wales.”

11:15 – Sunday 19th June

Andrew RT Davies welcomes Vote Leave reassurances over farming support, describing them as “transformational:

Andrew RT during the Assembly elections in May

Mr Davies said:

“The majority of Welsh farmers back a Vote to Leave on June 23, which would be transformational for Welsh agriculture.
“Not only do we now have a solid guarantee that Welsh farmers would continue to receive at least as much in terms of support, it’s clear that we need to end the supremacy of EU law and unleash new, fresh thinking and policies that can really deliver for the industry.
“The established unions may have taken a position against leaving, but they were very strong advocates of Euro and as much as they don’t like to be reminded of it, they were wrong then and they’re wrong now.
“A Vote to Leave would enable the UK Government to drive forward support packages for farmers that are tailor-made to our needs as an industry, and that would only benefit Welsh farmers.”

11:00 – Sunday 19th June

George Eustice: Statement on future of Welsh farming in full

“If we vote to leave on 23rd June, the UK government will continue to give Welsh farmers and the environment at least as much support as they get now. The Prime Minister has made that clear and I agree with him.
“After all, non-EU countries like Switzerland and Norway actually give more support to their farmers than we do. In the scheme of things, the amount of money spent on our countryside and wildlife is very modest when compared with spending on other departments. But we could spend our money more effectively if we had control.
“I want to be the first Farming Minister in over forty years who has the power to put things right and to deliver the change the Welsh farming industry so desperately needs. If you want change too, then don’t throw away your chance to vote for it. Vote to leave.”

10:00 – Sunday 19th June

EU exit would “benefit Welsh farmers”, says UK Government Minister

Via/ Farmers Weekly

The UK government’s farming minister, George Eustice MP, has said that leaving the EU would be the first opportunity in over forty years to “deliver the change the Welsh farming industry so desperately needs”.

Mr Eustice also confirmed that the UK Government would continue to give Welsh farmers and the environment “at least as much support” as they currently receive – but stressed that money could be spent more effectively in a locally driven system of support decided by UK ministers.

Mr Eustice has identified a number of potential new schemes for agriculture, and the Vote Leave campaign has said that a Leave vote in the 23 June referendum would free up £2 billion that could be spent on measures including insurance schemes and incentives for farmers.

This could mean more money and better support for Welsh farmers, Mr Eustice said.

09:00 — Tuesday 14th June

Leave Ministers commit to maintain Welsh EU funding

Andrew RT Davies — Leader, Welsh Conservatives

Thirteen Government ministers and senior Conservatives have today committed that every region, group and recipient of EU funding will continue to get that money after a ‘Leave’ vote in the EU referendum.

In an open letter, the signatories — who include Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Priti Patel — assure Welsh people and organisations who currently receive money from the European Union that their funding is safe if we Vote Leave.

In the letter they say:

‘There is more than enough money to ensure that those who now get funding from the EU — including universities, scientists, family farmers, regional funds, cultural organisations and others — will continue to do so while also ensuring that we save money that can be spent on our priorities.
‘If the public votes to leave on 23 June, we will continue to fund EU programmes in the UK until 2020, or up to the date when the EU is due to conclude individual programmes if that is earlier than 2020.
‘We will also be able to spend the money much more effectively. For example, some of the bureaucracy around payments to farmers is very damaging and can be scrapped once we take back control.’

The UK will have more than enough money to ensure that those who currently receive EU funding will continue to do so after we Vote Leave.

We can take back control of how UK taxpayers’ money is spent, improve funding mechanisms to suit the needs of the British people, and spend the extra money we will get back on our priorities like the NHS.

The signatories warn:

‘Many areas have seen recent falls in EU funding. The value of agricultural support is in decline and EU structural funds have been cut back significantly. The real danger to current recipients of funding from the EU institutions is that if we vote to remain the EU will further reduce their funding.
‘After protecting those now in receipt of EU funding, we will still have billions more to spend on our priorities. We propose that at least £5.5 billion of that be spent on the NHS by 2020, giving it a much-needed £100 million per week cash transfusion, and to use £1.7 billion to abolish VAT on household energy bills.’

Commenting on the announcement, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives — Andrew RT Davies — said:

“Today’s announcement is hugely welcome, and is further evidence that Wales would be better off out of the European Union.
“Despite the First Minister’s fantasy claims, we now know that funding for each and every part of the UK, including Wales, would be safe if we vote to leave.
“The real danger therefore lies in voting to remain, where EU leaders have imposed stringent cuts to regions across the European Union.
“Never forget that there is no such thing as EU money, because we send £10bn more to Brussels than we receive in funding each year.
“That’s why the safest option is to vote to leave and take back control of our own money, safe in the knowledge that a future UK Government will be able to spend more money here in Wales — not less.”

06:00 – Friday 10th June

Welsh Tory AM explains why she was won over by the “overwhelmingly positive” Vote Leave campaign

In a separate statement the Shadow Local Government Minister, Mrs Finch-Saunders, argued that more power would be put in the hands of local communities, and politicians – at the expense of the unelected, unaccountable European Commission.

Around half of our laws are now made by EU politicians in Brussels who we never voted for.

Mrs Finch-Saunders said:

“I have always backed the principle of localism, with Welsh communities having more say over their own affairs and as an elected politician I believe that we should be accountable for the decisions we take – that just isn’t the case with the EU,
“It cannot be right that laws can only be brought forward by the unelected European Commission, and I want to see power in the hands of the UK and Welsh Governments who are ultimately accountable to the public at the ballot box.
“That’s why we need to Vote Leave on June 23 and take back control of our own affairs.”

20:00 — Wednesday 8th June

Still undecided…? You won’t be after watching this.

Brexit The Movie.

10:55 — Tuesday 7th June

Remain campaign “deliberately misleading” over plans for Turkey to join the EU

Speaking to business leaders during a visit to Ankara shortly after he became Prime Minister, David Cameron said:

“It makes me angry that your [Turkey’s] progress towards EU membership can be frustrated in the way it has been.
“My view is clear, I believe it’s just wrong to say that Turkey can guard the camp but not be allowed to sit in the tent.
“So I will remain your strongest possible advocate for EU membership, and for greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy.
“This is something I feel very strongly, very passionately about.
“Together, I want us to pave the road from Ankara to Brussels.”

22:45 – Monday 6th June

ITV Cymru Wales poll puts EU referendum on a knife-edge

via/ Huffington Post

Responding to a new poll undertaken by ITV Wales and Cardiff University on the EU referendum, a Spokesperson for Vote Leave Cymru – Laura Anne Jones – said:

“This poll suggests that the campaigns are now neck and neck, with voters increasingly rejecting the negativity of project fear and embracing a positive future for Wales and the UK outside of the EU.
“Whilst the only poll that matters is the one that takes place on June 23, this is a once in a generation chance to put power back in the hands of local communities, and into the hands of politicians that we choose and who we can throw out if we want change.
“Above all, it’s an opportunity to take back control from the unelected and unaccountable EU and to deliver a shot in the arm for British democracy”

The poll reports both campaigns neck and neck with 41% each of the vote; 18% undecided/not voting.

The poll was undertaken by ITV Wales in conjunction with Cardiff University.

09:00 — Monday 6th June

Welsh NHS will need additional £246m a year by 2030 to cope with EU migration

via/ BBC Wales online

Forecasted levels of EU migration will place the Welsh NHS under huge strain in the coming years, according to Vote Leave campaigner David TC Davies MP.

It would mean that the Welsh NHS would require an additional £246 million per year by 2030 to maintain current funding levels.

Vote Leave has published new research highlighting the pressure the NHS will come under once new countries join the EU.

Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey — with a combined population of 88 million — are all in line to gain EU membership in the coming years. EU enlargement is an explicit policy of the European Commission, and is also supported by the British Government. Indeed the UK taxpayer is paying nearly £2 billion to help them join the EU. This could see the population of the UK increase by as much as 5 million by 2030.

Migration to Wales from the EU accounts for 2.5% of all EU migration to the UK, meaning that as many as 131,000 persons (net) could come to Wales from the EU between 2016 and 2030.

This is more than the entire population of the Vale of Glamorgan (126,000), roughly equivalent to the population of the entire county of Powys (132,000), and twice the population of Wrexham (66,000).

The forecasts calculate the impact that the accession of new member states will have on migration to the UK, and take into consideration the increase in the minimum wage in the UK over the period.

As well as requiring an additional £246 million a year to maintain current funding levels, the Welsh NHS would need to employ around 328 additional doctors in Wales just to maintain current staffing levels.

Monmouth MP, David Davies, said:

“The Welsh NHS is already facing the challenge of an ageing population, and scarce resources, but future migration will inevitably place huge additional pressures on investment and standards of care.
“Rather than sending money abroad to countries that want to join the EU I believe we should be spending our money on local priorities here in Wales, and across the UK.
“This is about the number of houses we have, the availability of school places and the capability of the Welsh NHS to absorb extra people
“With Turkey amongst the countries likely to join the EU in the coming years, net EU migration to Wales is set to reach astronomical levels — with more than the entire population of the Vale of Glamorgan set to come here by 2030.
“It’s unsustainable, and instead of giving an extra 88 million people access to the NHS I believe it would be safer to take back control of our borders and public services by voting to leave the EU.”

09:00 — Friday 3rd June

Iain Duncan-Smith says a vote to leave would be a “shot in the arm” for Welsh democracy

The Rt. Hon Iain Duncan-Smith MP is visiting north Wales today to highlight the case for a Vote to Leave the EU on June 23.

He is joined on the Vote Leave battle bus by the leader of Vote Leave Cymru, David Jones MP in making visits to Conwy Harbour, Llandudno, and Colwyn Bay.

There will also be a public rally on Friday evening at Venue Cymru in Llandudno tonight at 6pm.

Mr Duncan-Smith is highlighting the opportunity Wales has to take back control, by returning power to Welsh politicians and to local Welsh communities.

Speaking ahead of the visit to Wales, Mr Duncan-Smith said:

“In just three weeks the people of Wales have a once in a generation opportunity to vote to leave the EU and take back control.
“It’s a chance to put power back in the hands of local communities, and in to the hands of politicians we choose and who we can throw out if we want change.
“All too many laws affecting our everyday lives are being taken by unelected politicians from other nations — instead of by Welsh politicians, in the Welsh Parliament.
“The EU is a political project and if we stay things will only get worse. Instead, let’s take a different path, deliver a shot in the arm for British democracy, and take back control of our own affairs.”

13:00 — Thursday 2nd June

Rt. Hon Gisela Stuart visits Wales to make Labour case for a vote to leave the EU

Gisela joins activists on Queen Street

The Rt. Hon Gisela Stuart MP is visiting south Wales today to highlight the Labour case for a Vote to Leave the EU on June 23.

Ms Stuart, the Chair of Vote Leave, is visiting a number of businesses in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, as well as campaigning with local activists on Cardiff’s Queen Street.

She says that Britain’s membership of the EU is stifling our ability to support small indigenous firms — all too often at the expense of big corporations.

In a piece for the Western Mail today Ms Stuart said:

“Labour has always drawn much of its inspiration from its deep roots in Wales; people in communities supporting each other, the importance of work, fair treatment — and these are values that the party still cherishes today.
“Ever since one of the founders of my party, Keir Hardie, represented a Welsh constituency in Parliament it has been the duty of Labour politicians to stand with the working people of Wales.
“Big corporations make up just 1% of all businesses in the UK. In contrast small businesses employ over 15 million people in Britain and there are thousands of people in Wales alone who rely on those businesses being able to grow and take on more staff.
“By giving up control of the laws that govern us to people we have not elected, cannot get rid of and who run things in a way that too often benefits the big corporations, we are unable to support working people in the way that I know a Labour Government can do.
“Only by taking back control of our country can we have a chance of changing things for the better.”

00:01 – Thursday 2nd June

Plaid claims that Welsh products would lose ‘protected status’ after a Vote to Leave are “absolute nonsense”

Plaid Cymru have today claimed that a Vote to Leave would see Welsh products – such as Welsh lamb and Halen Môn salt – lose their protected status. Claims dismissed by a Vote Leave spokesman:

“These claims are absolute nonsense because protected food status works both ways. After all, are Plaid Cymru seriously suggesting that the protected status afforded to French producers of champagne, or Italian producers of Parma Ham, would be sacrificed by the EU in the event of a vote to leave?
“The UK would ensure that our products were protected in the EU by striking a new deal, it’s as simple as that. And the EU would want to strike a deal to protect their own products in the UK from unfair competition.”
Vincent Bailey – Vote Leave Cymru

17:15 – Wednesday 1st June

New Ipsos Mori poll suggests two thirds see no negative impact on finances after a vote to leave the EU

Via/ Huffington Post

From the Guardian:

Attempts to convince the public they will be worse off if Britain leaves the EU are falling on deaf ears, according to an Ipsos Mori poll that shows two-thirds of the electorate don’t foresee any negative impact on their personal finances from Brexit.

More HERE.

12:00 – Wednesday 1st June

Vote Leave pledge fairer ‘points-based’ immigration system

Via/ Daily Telegraph

Leaders of the Vote Leave campaign have pledged a fairer points-based immigration system if the UK votes to leave the EU.

If Britain votes to leave the EU the government should take the following action by 2020:

  • End the automatic right of all EU citizens to come and work in the UK.
  • Those seeking entry for work or study should be admitted on the basis of their skills, without discrimination on the grounds of nationality.
  • To gain the right to work, economic migrants will have to be suitable for the job in question.
  • For relevant jobs, the UK will be able to ensure that all those who come have the ability to speak good English.

08:00 – Wednesday 1st June

Mask slips as Leader of Stronger In admits he wants “much, much closer” union

The Leader of the ‘Stronger In’ campaign in Wales has admitted that he wants even closer union of EU states if the public votes to stay in the European Union on June 23.

Speaking during a live phone-in on BBC Radio Wales yesterday, Mr Telfan Davies said that the EU “need[s] to be much, much closer together”.

He told Jason Mohammad that he shared Gordon Brown’s vision for a ‘United Europe of States’, and stressed that concerns over sovereignty were a “mirage”.

Geraint Talfan Davies’ comments were made during a broadcast on BBC Radio Wales – HERE – at the start of the show.

09:33 – Friday 27th May

ITV Wales poll shows it’s neck and neck

Via ITV Wales

A new poll conducted by ITV Wales on whether we stay or leave the EU has revealed how close it is with just a month to go.

Welsh polls during recent months have shown the lead has ebbed and flowed between both sides but this latest poll suggests those who have a view are fairly evenly split on the question of EU membership..

10:02 – Thursday 26th May

EU reneges on deal over ‘tampon tax’ & highlights just how little influence we have

GEORGE Osborne has been humiliated by European Union bureaucrats who have dropped his supposed agreement to exempt Britain from the punishing tampon tax, it has been claimed.

The news is a humiliating blow and highlights just how little influence we have.

More – HERE.

09:45 — Tuesday 24th May

Response to Wales Governance Centre report on Wales’ membership of EU

A briefing paper, Wales and the EU Referendum: Estimating Wales’ Net Contribution to the European Union by Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre has claimed that the overall net benefit to Wales was around £79 per head in 2014.

A spokesperson for Vote Leave Cymru said Wales will be financially better off outside of the European Union where contributions could be ‘better spend locally’.

He said:

“Reports such as these ignore one crucial fact: there is no such thing as European money. It’s money that hardworking families have paid in taxes, and money which could be better spent locally. In any case, we do not recognise these projections, and if the UK votes to leave the EU on June 23, Wales will be financially better off.
“The UK currently spends £10 billion a year more than it receives in so-called EU funds and Wales would be entitled to its share of that dividend if we Vote to Leave. It’s also worth noting that these projections are based on the funds that Wales currently receives from the EU, and there are absolutely no guarantees over the amount of support Wales will receive beyond 2020 — or that these funding streams will even continue. That’s why the safest option is to Vote to Leave.
“If we leave the EU we can spend our money on our priorities, like the NHS, schools and housing. And we could once again be masters of our own destiny, free to sign trade agreements with new trading partners the world over — including with the EU itself.”


06.15 – Tuesday 24th May

#ProjectFear: PM admits risk of bear attacks after Brexit “may be exaggerated”

Bear attacking a pro-Brexit voter

The UK Government has finally admitted that there is no evidence that Brexit could lead to increased incidences of bear attacks across the UK.

The admission comes after the UK Government issued new projections on Monday saying that the risk of bear attacks could increase fourfold after a vote to leave.


13:05 — Monday 23rd May

Transparent ‘scaremongering’ from the Chancellor over prospects for Welsh jobs and growth

“rather desperate” [Vote Leave Spokesman]

Responding to the Chancellor’s statement today, in which it was claimed that prospects for jobs and growth in Wales would be hit if the UK leaves the EU, a spokesman for Vote Leave Cymru said:

“This is all getting rather desperate, and Welsh voters will see through this statement for what it is: scaremongering.

“As the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Lawson, said today, the Treasury have enough trouble with forecasts at the best of times — even when they are trying to get them right.

“These politically driven statements are transparent blackmail tactics. Ask yourself this, if a Vote to Leave really presented such a clear and present danger to Wales and the UK as a whole wasn’t it deeply irresponsible of the government to put this to a public vote in the first place?

“The public will not thank politicians for engaging in project fear and that’s why we will continue to highlight the positive case for voting to leave and take control of our own affairs outside of the EU”.

He added:

“Far from harming Wales’ prospects, a Vote to leave the EU would mean that the UK would be free to trade with the whole world.

“Even the Prime Minister has admitted that we would continue to access the single market, and if we Vote Leave we can have a friendlier relationship with the EU based on trade, as well as regaining our seat on global bodies like the World Trade Organisation.”

12:00 — Monday 23rd May

‘No More Project Fear’ — Andrew RT Davies AM

You can read Andrew RT Davies’ article on the need for a more positive debate on our membership of the European Union HERE on ClickOnWales.

07:43 – Monday 23rd May

“End the project fear campaign, the public deserves better” says Andrew RT Davies

Writing for the IWA this morning, Welsh Conservative Leader – Andrew RT Davies – calls for a “more positive Tone” the the EU debate.

In the remaining weeks of the campaign we need to see an “honest, open and positive debate” he says. The article will be published later this morning.

BBC Wales coverage HERE.

20:40 – Friday 20th May

VoteLeaveCymru will be holding street stalls across Wales this weekend

There will be street stalls across Wales this weekend as we enter the last five weeks of the campaign. Venues include Llanidnoes, Llandudno, Bangor, Blaenavon, Aberystwyth, Mold & Wrexham.

We’d love to see you in a town near you! Find out more via Twitter @VoteLeaveCymru and online HERE.

19:45 – Friday 20th May

#ProjectFear – British ‘deserters’ will face the consequences, warns EU’s Juncker

More threats from Project Fear as President of the EU Commission says Britons would be seen as “deserters” in the event of a vote to leave on June 23.

A colourful turn of phrase Juncker may come to regret. Do the remain campaign have anything positive to offer the debate?

More HERE.

“I’m sure the deserters will not be welcomed with open arms”.

Jean-Claude Juncker, Le Monde

13:35 – Friday 20th May

#ProjectFear – ‘Remain’ camp: The Beatles would never have happened without the EU

Via/ David Cameron Twitter

The PM took part in a bizarre photo-op with Tessa Jowell today which appeared to imply that music fans the world over have the EU to thank for The Beatles.

(See above)

07:55 – Friday 20th May

Welsh Brexit campaigner says EU has sights on NHS

Coverage of David Davies’ concerns over plans by EU leaders to take over running of health services, via Walesonline today – HERE.

14:34 — Thursday 19th May

David Davies MP publishes an open letter to The Peoples’ NHS — “if you’re serious about blocking TTIP then you must back VoteLeave”.

14:17 — Thursday 19th May

Labour MP calls voter a “horrible racist” on the campaign trail

Labour’s Shadow Europe Minister — Pat Glass MP — called a voter she met in Sawley (Derbs) today a “horrible racist” after he expressed concerns over levels of Polish migration to the UK.

Reports HERE.

13:30 — Thursday 19th May

EU membership leaves us “powerless” to support our steel industry

Responding to a speech by the Secretary of State for Wales this morning, in which he claimed that EU membership will help to save the steel industry, a spokesman for Vote Leave Wales said:

“The reality is that the EU stands as a barrier that restricts our ability to support businesses in need.

“When the Welsh steel industry needed intervention, both the Governments in Westminster and Cardiff were limited in what they could do by the EU.

“We are almost powerless to set tariffs to protect Welsh and UK based businesses from dumping from China, and when an important Welsh industry needs help in the future, we will be in a far weaker position to assist if we vote to remain in the EU.”

08:28 — Thursday 19th May

EU plans treaty change to take responsibility for health policy

It has emerged that EU leaders are planning a ‘power grab’ to extend the role the European Union plays in health policy. The European Commissioner for Health, Vytenis Andriukaitis, has said that the most “economically effective” way to manage health issues would be at an EU level.

Monmouth MP, David TC Davies, warned that “if the UK votes to stay the EU plans to take control of the NHS in the next few years”.

He said:

“EU leaders are now openly discussing their plans to manage health issues at an EU level, which would place the future of our NHS in great danger.

“Whilst the Welsh Government’s record-breaking cuts to the NHS have devastated local services in Wales, it is clear that the blame for spiralling waiting lists and hospital downgrades lies solely with policy decisions taken by Welsh ministers.

“There is no appetite for EU treaty changes that would undermine our ability to pursue locally driven priorities.

“Wales needs to see better leadership of the NHS here in Wales, not a power grab by unelected EU bureaucrats, and it is becoming clear that if the UK votes to stay the EU plans to take control of the NHS in the next few years.”

David TC Davies MP also criticised the ever-expanding reach of EU legislation:

“Before the European Communities Act was signed in 1972, all laws affecting the people of this country were made by our own directly elected Parliament.

“In recent years, however, we have seen the level of EU regulations and directives spiralling out of control and half of our laws are now made by EU politicians in Brussels who we never voted for.

“Time after time we try to stop the new EU laws but are often defeated, which is why we should vote leave and take back control of our own affairs.”

The European Commissioner for Health, Vytenis Andriukaitis, is on record talking about broadening the role of the EU executive when it comes to health policy. A move which would amount to a power grab, potentially placing the future of the NHS in doubt.

At a conference in Riga he recently said:

“I believe it will be nice to discuss the possibility to change the European Union treaties in the future.

“Believe me, I can’t imagine a more economically effective possibility than to manage health issues at an EU level.”

He also suggested that it would be “very timely to raise questions” in the European Parliament and the EU council, suggesting that work is underway to establish a consensus at EU level for treaty change.

Meanwhile, speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior figure in the Welsh NHS described the revelations as “alarming” and “arrogant”.

That figure, a surgeon, said:

“The National Health Service is one of the UK’s proudest achievements and it is alarming to hear senior EU figures speaking with such arrogance about their plans to take over responsibility for health.

“EU member states across the continent have totally different needs and healthcare priorities, and NHS professionals here in the UK already share best practice with colleagues all over the world.

“Many of my colleagues already have grave concerns over the impact that TTIP could have on the NHS, and we do need to stand up strongly and say NO to the European Union.

“The NHS is about our national health, and decisions regarding its future should be driven by local priorities — not unelected and unaccountable EU bureaucrats.”

Notes to Editors:

Vytenis Andriukaitis’ comments were originally reported in EU Reporter:

Time for treaty changes and a joined-up approach on EU health — 2 October 2015.