THE Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru have joined forces to demand preparations for a second Brexit referendum begin "immediately".

Following votes in Parliament on Tuesday to demand the controversial Irish backstop is replaced with "alternative arrangements", Theresa May has returned to the European Union to seek to re-open negotiations - despite European leaders saying the withdrawal agreement will not be amended.

As a result, the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru presented a joint motion in the Senedd today, Wednesday, calling for work to begin "immediately" on preparations for a second referendum, as well as for Article 50 to be delayed - which won the support of the Assembly.

Although it stopped short of explicitly calling for a so-called 'people's vote', this is the closest the Welsh Government has come to overtly supporting the campaign for a fresh vote on the UK's membership of the European Union.


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The motion also called for the UK Government to "step up its engagement" with the Welsh Government and other devolved administrations.

Presenting the motion, Brexit minister and counsel general Jeremy Miles said: "It is clear the choice is no deal, a bad deal which will fail to command a majority in Parliament, or putting it back to a public vote."

And Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: "The only real choice is a no-deal Brexit or a people’s vote.

"Politics is broken, but in 58 days it will be worse. People will never forgive us if we do not do all we can to stop and avoidable disaster."

But South Wales East AM Mark Reckless, a member of the Assembly's Conservative group, criticised Labour and Plaid, saying: "They think they know better, they think voters should vote again because they got it wrong."

And Conservative AM Darren Millar said the prime minister had been "fighting hard" to achieve a good deal, and warned extending Article 50 "does absolutely nothing to solve the fundamental disagreement most people have".

Claiming the EU had developed a deal which is deliberately unfavourable to the UK in an attempt to dissuade other countries from leaving, Ukip's Neil Hamilton said: "I regret we are in this unpalatable situation today, but we are never going to be able to deliver on the result of the referendum on the basis of taking no deal off the table because that is the strongest weapon Britain ever had."


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Labour Alyn and Deeside AM Jack Sargeant supported the motion, saying: "It's not the wealthy who will suffer, and it's not us in this chamber who will suffer - it's those in my constituency who struggle to make ends meet. I'm not prepared to see those people suffer because we as politicians cannot work together."

He added: "I do believe there is a deal to be struck in Parliament, and the prime minister will find her job a lot easier if she rules out no deal entirely.

And Labour Caerphilly AM Hefin David said he was reluctant to support a second referendum, saying doing so represented "a failure of our democracy".

But he conceded it may be "the only option".

Ex-first minister Carwyn Jones also threw his support behind the plan, saying: "Circumstances have changed over the past two years. I cannot see why we cannot now ask people to express a view in the light of current circumstances."

AMs voted 37 to 14 to approve the motion.

Although the Assembly's Ukip group called for the motion to be scrapped, calling it "yet another side show orchestrated by Project Fear", this was defeated by AMs.

Meanwhile, first minister Mark Drakeford met Theresa May today to discuss the situation.

Writing on Twitter after the meeting, he said: "Deeply concerned at how little time remains until March 29. Today I told the PM the assumption we can get very close to the wire and then demand an extension to Article 50 is reckless and dangerous. We’re at real risk of a no deal by accident.

"The UK Government must take no deal off the table and ask for extension to Article 50 now."

MPs will have another chance to vote on the prime minister's deal by Thursday, February 14, at the latest.