Election 2019

General election 2019: Drakeford not disappointed by Corbyn's Brexit stance

Mark Drakeford
Image caption Mark Drakeford said Jeremy Corbyn "has a different set of responsibilities to me"

Wales' first minister said he was "not disappointed" by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's vow to stay neutral in a future Brexit referendum.

Mr Corbyn has pledged to strike a new deal, with remain as the other option.

Mark Drakeford said a Welsh Labour government would campaign "unreservedly and enthusiastically" to remain.

Speaking at Welsh Labour's election launch in Wrexham, he said Mr Corbyn's stance was credible as he would have to implement "whatever people decide".

Last week, Mr Corbyn said he would offer a fresh referendum in which he would maintain a neutral stance before carrying out the result.

He said acting as an "honest broker" was a "sensible way forward", although rival parties have accused him of showing a lack of leadership.

Image caption The first minister launched Welsh Labour's election campaign in Wrexham

Mr Drakeford told BBC Wales that as prime minister of a "deeply divided" UK, Mr Corbyn would "retain his authority to implement whatever the people decide should happen".

"He has a different set of responsibilities to me. I'm not disappointed at all," he added.

"My job is to stand up for what is right for Wales and we are clear that staying in the EU is the right answer.

"Jeremy will have to implement whatever people decide and he will keep himself in readiness to do just that."

In the 2016 EU referendum, 52.5% of voters in Wales backed leave, with 47.5% supporting remain.

In the launch at Coleg Cambria, Mr Drakeford told party supporters a Labour UK government would enable his administration in Cardiff Bay to go "so much further and so much faster".

He said people in Wales already live with many "radical" initiatives introduced by his party, such as abolishing the right to buy council houses, banning fracking and setting up a Development Bank for Wales.

In partnership with a Labour UK Government, the first minister said his Welsh Government could help deliver a zero-carbon Wales, free full fibre broadband and replace universal credit with a "fairer" benefit system.

He defended Labour's spending plans for Wales, saying: "It produces £3.4bn [extra] every year in revenue for us to invest in our health service, our education service, in building the houses we need, repairing the damage to this country after a decade of neglect.

"It will see us spend on public services in the UK the same that France and Germany spend on theirs - it puts us in the European mainstream."

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