Wales politics

'Send a message' to UK government in poll, says Labour

Labour called on Welsh voters to send a message to the UK government and reject UKIP when it launched a set of five pledges for the European elections.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said on the doorstep "there's no evidence of a surge in support for UKIP in Wales".

Mr Smith joined Labour's candidates on the construction site of Swansea University's new Bay Campus, which is partly financed with EU funding.

He said it was "the most important European election for a generation".

Labour is hoping to bounce back from the last European elections in 2009 when its share of the vote slumped and the Conservatives topped the poll.

Labour's lead candidate, Derek Vaughan, won one of Wales' four seats in the European Parliament that year, the other three were taken by the Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and UKIP.

Mr Smith said his party was offering "solid, progressive policies" to address the cost of living.

"Farage and the Tories are not offering that - they are offering more of the same frankly," he said.

Labour unveiled five pledges to:

  • Get new investment to deliver jobs and growth
  • Protect worker and consumer rights
  • Secure and deliver European regeneration cash
  • Tackle rising energy bills by reforming the European single market in energy
  • Push for ambitious environmental targets and tackle climate change

Mr Smith said the new university campus was an example of EU funding being "well spent".

"This is the result of European funds.

"£85m worth of European money is going into building what is going to be an absolute state of the art science campus, in a part of south Wales where we need this sort of investment.

"This is a campus and a university that now has ambitions to be best engineering university in Britain, next to Imperial College in London, that's the scale of global ambition that we've got here in Wales.

"And as the audit only last week of the European structural funds spending showed, right across Wales, the last set of funding has been very well spent, better spent perhaps than in the past.

"I think we're getting it right, and this is a great example of it."

'Positive message'

Mr Vaughan said Labour was emphasising the benefits of remaining part of the EU.

"Wales gets the best part of £1bn a year of European funding," he said.

"We've got 191,000 jobs which depend on trade with the rest of the European Union, and much of our legislation, particularly around workers' rights and consumer rights, comes from the EU.

"So we are putting forward a positive message as well."

A list of all candidates and parties standing in the European elections in Wales, on Thursday 22 May, is available here.

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