Brexit vote by Labour and Plaid Welsh MEPs ‘a disgrace’

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It is an “utter disgrace” that Welsh members of the European Parliament voted for a delay in Brexit talks, UKIP MEP Nathan Gill has said.

Labour’s Derek Vaughan and Plaid Cymru’s Jill Evans backed calls for the EU not to move on to the next phase of negotiations over trade.

Mr Vaughan said the UK had not put forward proposals which protect citizens rights, deals with the Irish border or settled financial liabilities

Ms Evans has been asked to comment.

Last week, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there was still “deadlock” over how much the UK pays when it leaves.

He told reporters that insufficient progress had been made for him to propose to EU leaders at the summit that discussions can move on from separation issues to discuss a future trading relationship.

A non-binding vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg at the start of October backed the EU in delaying progress to the next phase of the talks.

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Derek Vaughan says Nathan Gill “rarely attends” the European Parliament

Mr Gill said his fellow Welsh MEPs, Mr Vaughan and Ms Evans, who supported the motion were “subverting the democratic will of the Welsh people”.

“It is an utter disgrace and the people of Wales deserve to know the truth. It must not be a case of ‘out of sight out of mind’ when MEPs are the public’s elected representatives in Brussels at this most critical time,” he said.

Mr Vaughan, a Labour MEP since 2009, hit back saying he was “surprised Mr Gill was there at the vote as he rarely attends the European Parliament to do the job he is paid for”.

He added: “Because of its internal disputes the government has not put forward proposals which protects citizens rights, deals with the border in Ireland or settles its financial liabilities which helps pay for structural funds and CAP.

“When there is sufficient progress on these issues myself and the rest of the European Parliament will be happy to vote for the next stage to begin.”

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Jill Evans was one of the two MEPs to have voted for the motion

Conservative MEP for Wales, Kay Swinburne, followed her party’s whip in voting against the motion.

Meanwhile, Welsh, Scottish and UK government ministers will meet in Westminster on Monday to discuss Brexit.

Speaking ahead of the first joint ministerial committee (JMC) meeting in eight months, the Welsh Government’s finance secretary Mark Drakeford said it was “an opportunity to re-set the approach and actively involve the devolved administrations in the development of the negotiating position for leaving the EU”.

Members of the Welsh assembly’s Brexit Committee will also visit Brussels on Monday to meet with Mr Barnier.

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