Jonathan Edwards MP outlines his initial thoughts on the EU Referendum result in this week's Carmarthen Journal.
The result of the European Union Referendum was a great personal disappointment to me. Welsh economic interests are best served as a full part of the European Union due to our export-driven economy. However, I am a democrat and I accept the result.
Carmarthenshire voted Leave, although sampling of boxes at the count indicate that my own constituency of Carmarthen East and Dinefwr voted Remain. My overriding priority now will be to protect the interests of Carmarthenshire and Wales in the storm that has been unleashed.
The Remain campaign, led by the Prime Minister was shambolic. Early in the campaign I warned that reliance on so called 'project fear' tactics would backfire. I also warned repeatedly that the Remain campaign had to offer a non-status quo option for disadvantaged areas. David Cameron is an effective political tactician, but he is not as strategically astute. The referendum pledge was aimed at keeping his party united over Europe, whilst out flanking UKIP. He never thought through what would happen if the referendum was lost. History will definitely not be kind to the great political chancer whose luck run out on the biggest question of all.
Carmarthenshire and Wales now needs bold political leadership, and I wanted to share with you my immediate thoughts.
It is of vital importance that as a part of the Brexit negotiations Wales secures European Economic Area (EEA) status. My colleague, Adam Price, unearthed statistics which indicate that Wales will lose around 10% of its economic value if we lose access to the single market. As an export nation, Wales will be hit the hardest of all the component parts of the British state.
Article 50, which initiates the Brexit negotiations, should be enacted immediately. The fact that the Leave campaign now say that they have no plan is no excuse to dither. Political uncertainty is economically toxic. We need to get on with matters.
The British state cannot continue in its current format. My immediate priority will be to argue the case for a union of equal nations. Scotland will be independent within two years. The people of Wales will have to decide if they want to be a western region of England or a proper political nation. I choose the latter.
If the terms of the renegotiation are so obviously against the interests of Wales, in particular a non-EEA settlement, I will campaign for a ratification referendum so the people can have a say on what the politicians have delivered on their behalf.
This is the greatest political challenge Wales has faced in modern history. I can assure you that I and my party are ready to meet the formidable challenge that now faces us.
Never before has our country needed its people to join together to fight for our common future. I ask you to join my party and me in that mission.
Jonathan Edwards MP