Wales politics

Andrew RT Davies: Welsh Gov Brexit group 'disappointing'

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Media captionAndrew RT Davies says the committee is 'staffed full of Labour luvvies'

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has criticised a new Welsh Government Brexit group for having only one confirmed Leave campaigner.

The 20-member advisory body - which includes UKIP MEP Nathan Gill - met for the first time on Wednesday.

Mr Davies said it was disappointing to see the group packed "with people such as Lord Kinnock".

The Welsh Government said the issues to be considered go beyond the interest of any party or campaign group.

It said the invitations were aimed at bringing together a wealth of experience and understanding of European issues.

Who is on the group?

The body has been tasked with providing advice to the Welsh Government on the "challenges and opportunities" arising from the UK's withdrawal from the EU, and includes representatives of business, universities and trade unions.

They are joined by a number of current and former politicians, including five from Labour and all of Wales' MEPs.

The group's members include Labour MEP Derek Vaughan; former Labour MEP and now AM for Mid and West Wales Baroness Eluned Morgan, former Labour leader and ex-Vice President of the European Commission Lord Kinnock, and Cardiff council leader Phil Bale.

Labour cabinet secretary for finance and local government, Mark Drakeford, is the group's chairman.

Conservative MEP Kay Swinburne and Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans are also on the body, as well as former Lib Dem AM William Powell.

Others include former-UN ambassador Sir Emyr Jones Parry, general secretary of Wales TUC Martin Mansfield and CBI Wales director Emma Watkins.

The only known Leave campaigner is UKIP's Mr Gill.

In comments written for the Brexit Central website, Mr Davies said: "In spite of the first minister's claims that no individual or group has a monopoly on good ideas, his rhetoric isn't born out in deed, and on a panel of 20 there is just one confirmed Leave campaigner - or 5% of the group."

He said that, while he wishes the group well, "it is very disappointing to see the first minister packing it with the people such as Lord Kinnock, who not only helped the Remain campaign to defeat, but who spoke with such venom about many of the people for whom he will now claim to speak".

He said he held many of the names "in high regard" but he could not help feel it was a "missed opportunity" to prove the Welsh Government was serious about engaging with everyone to "shape a positive future for Wales".

Mr Davies has previously called the plan a "last-minute scramble for ideas".

Neil Hamilton, UKIP's Wales leader, said the appointment of Wales' MEPs to the group "wouldn't take us very much further forward" and the "Labour, Plaid and Tory MEPs in Wales were all rabid Remainers".

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "Leaving the EU is unchartered territory for the UK and it is vital we consider a range of views about how we secure the best possible outcome for Wales."

A Welsh Government spokesman added: "The issues to be considered by the advisory group go far beyond the interests of any political party or campaign group.

"As such, invitations were not based on how individuals campaigned ahead of the referendum, but were aimed at bringing together a wealth of experience and understanding of European issues."

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