Wales politics

Post-Brexit immigration curbs 'a real risk to Wales'

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Media captionBrexit immigration risk for Wales, claims Leanne Wood

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said placing curbs on immigration after Brexit could lead to "a real risk to some industries and places" in Wales.

Ms Wood told the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales programme that tourism and the health service would suffer if EU nationals could not work in Wales.

But she also outlined plans to place some restrictions on immigrants.

The policies would mean "we could be more picky" about freedom of movement, she said.

More than 52% of voters in Wales chose to leave the European Union in June's referendum.

Ms Wood said: "We have to recognise the vote and people voted to leave.

"So what we do now is discuss the best kind of Brexit possible for Wales; the least worst option, if you like.

Ms Wood said the party was looking to the "Norwegian model" which allows people to enter the country for six months to find a job or set up a business.

'Brexit blank cheque'

"Now, that would enable us to retain an element of freedom of movement," she added.

"Yes we could be more picky about that, perhaps, but it would enable us to protect those workers that are in the welsh NHS and the sustainability of those industries that currently rely on labour from overseas."

Ms Wood also accused Labour of "handing a Brexit blank cheque" to the prime minister.

"Labour is divided on Brexit at Westminster, which is stopping them taking on the Tories and holding the UK government to account," she said.

"They are handing Theresa May a Brexit blank cheque, and allow a scrutiny gap to exist."

First Minister Carwyn Jones warned on Friday that Labour voters could switch to UKIP because of national leader Jeremy Corbyn's "London-centric" stance on immigration.

But shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme: "Wales and the west country and the north east are some of the parts of the country that have the most to lose."

Asked if she knew more about Wales than its Labour leader, Ms Abbott replied: "If you are talking about immigration, my experiences of Labour party members all over the country want immigration rules that are fair and reasonable."

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