Welsh Lib Dem refuses to stand down as part of Unite to Remain pact

PUBLISHED: 17:05 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 07 November 2019

Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Powell has refused to stand down as part of the Unite to Remain pact between the Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru. Picture: PA/Welsh Liberal Democrats

Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Powell has refused to stand down as part of the Unite to Remain pact between the Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru. Picture: PA/Welsh Liberal Democrats

PA/Welsh Liberal Democrats

A Liberal Democrat candidate asked to stand aside as part of a pro-Remain election pact has vowed to run as an independent and has claimed that members of his party are "extremely unhappy" about how the deal was struck.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism

Mike Powell, who intended to stand in Pontypridd as a Lib Dem candidate, said he was asked to stand aside as part of the Unite to Remain pact three weeks ago.

The pact, organised by former MP Heidi Allen, sees the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party agree not to stand against each other in 60 seats across England and Wales to give voters a single pro-Remain choice.

WATCH: 'Unprecedented' - Pro-Remain parties agree not to contest each other in 60 seats

As part of the pact, a Plaid candidate will stand in Pontypridd.

But Powell, who has been the county borough councillor for Trallwn since 1999, is refusing to cooperate with the pact and will instead stand as an independent.

He said he was given a minute to consider the proposal, and when he refused he was given another five minutes.

He said: "I think that people deserve to have an opportunity to vote for someone who's going to represent the people of Pontypridd, rather than standing to represent a cause to remove Wales from the United Kingdom."

He added: "I don't think I will split the Remain vote. That won't happen. It will not be a split. I understand the fundamentals.

"We're dealing with Plaid Cymru, they're the Welsh nationalist party. We're not dealing with the Scottish Nationalist Party, we're not dealing with the English nationalist party.

"These are nationalists. They want to remove Wales from the United Kingdom."

He continued: "I don't see them as a Remain party as such. Their ultimate goal is to remove Wales from the United Kingdom. And myself and a lot of people in the valleys are not prepared to vote for that."

Earlier this year Plaid Cymru along with the Welsh Labour Party switched the Welsh government's position to campaign to stay in the EU.

MORE: Welsh government officially switches to campaign for Remain

Powell said he has not canvassed people, or tried to persuade people to resign from the Lib Dems, but added: "I know there is an awful lot of members in the Welsh Liberal Democrats who are extremely unhappy with the way this negotiation has been dealt with.

"The weakness of the leadership has come to the fore."

He clarified that he was not referring to Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson but to the leadership in Wales.

Layla Moran, Lib Dem candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon, said it is "really regrettable" that Powell is standing as an independent.

She told World At One that the "bigger picture" is what is so historic about the Unite to Remain cause.

You may also want to watch:

"I think for the vast majority of candidates it is with agreement, and some of the ones I've spoken to have actually done it almost enthusiastically because they can see that bigger picture of how working together puts across that strong message of actually grown-up politics, and fighting first past the post, and we all know that the electoral system is not our friend in these situations," she said.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest anti-Brexit campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy