Dear members and friends,
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The EU has said again there will be no transition period and future trade deal until the Tory government comes up with a sensible solution to the Irish border issue. A hard border with Northern Ireland would violate the Good Friday Agreement and a hard border in the Irish Sea would be unacceptable for the DUP who are propping up the Tory government. It would also cause huge problems for Welsh Ports as customs and border checks would have to be undertaken there. Clearly the sensible solution is to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union.
As the reality of Brexit becomes clearer public opinion has shifted towards a second referendum, with 80% of the Labour membership now in favour of a second vote. And just this week, a Media Wales survey revealed the majority of people in Wales think we would be better off inside the European Union. As such, we must give voters a say on the final deal. This is a point I made in a number of speeches at last week’s Welsh Labour Conference.
Meanwhile a UK parliamentary committee this week warned that without access to European markets, British exports of processed foods such as chocolate, cheese, beef and pork will suffer, and shoppers will face higher prices on supermarket shelves. It is clear that if the government persists with its policy of leaving the Customs Union, British exporters, importers, workers will suffer, along with our whole economy.
In the Parliament
Last week in Strasbourg my report on the European Parliament’s spending was passed with a majority of 540 to 140. The text included calls for improved workers’ rights and more transparency for Parliament’s spending.
This week in Parliament I will present my report on the impact of cohesion funding in Northern Ireland which notes the tremendous impact EU Peace Programme funds have had and argues that the programme must continue post 2020.