Wales could disappear into England under hard Brexit, Welsh nationalist leader warns

Caroline Mortimer
Leanne Wood is hoping to exploit Labour's weakness in Wales: Rex

Wales is in danger of disappearing as a distinct country if “extreme Brexit” leads to the break-up of the UK, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has warned.

Ms Wood said Wales faced “grave risks” during the upcoming Brexit negotiations, particularly if Scotland became independent.

The Welsh nationalist said that if the Conservatives won a landslide at the General Election it would mean the UK was likely to opt for a hard Brexit.

This would mean withdrawal from the single market and imposition of export tariffs which would put Welsh jobs at risk, she argued, according to The Sunday Times.

Speaking a campaign event at a factory which makes parts for Airbus in Broughton, north Wales, she said the aircraft manufacturer was “not going to hang about too long” if they faced steep tariffs on goods made in the UK and exported to the EU.

But what she most feared was Wales being swallowed up by the much larger England if Scotland voted for independence.

“If Scotland becomes an independent country then the UK will no longer exist. The danger to us is the merging of England and Wales, almost like a disappearance of the country really," Ms Wood said.

“That’s what’s at stake potentially and we have to do whatever we can to make sure that Wales remains a viable nation in the long term.”

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have had their own regional governments since 1999.

A majority of people in Wales voted for Brexit along with England in the referendum last year, while most in Northern Ireland and Scotland wanted to remain in the EU.

But Ms Wood said this was more to do with people wanting “change” rather than to leave.

“The current set-up is not working for people”, she said.

Plaid is hoping to exploit Labour’s current lacklustre performance in the polls.

The party currently holds three seats in Westminster and its key target is Ceredigion in Mid Wales, which is held by Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams.

A YouGov poll published last week said Labour was in danger of losing 10 seats to the Conservatives and being pushed into second place in Wales for the first time since 1922.

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