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Plaid Cymru MP ‘Sceptical’ About Labour but vows Party will ‘Make a Difference and Hold Them to Account’

Ben Lake and Llinos Medi outline party priorities and concerns as they push for more funding and devolution

Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth (c), joins the four Plaid Cymru MPs (left to right ) Ben Lake, Ann Davies, Liz Saville Roberts and Llinos Medi who won seats in the 2024 General Election. Photo: PA Images / Alamy
Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth (c), joins the four Plaid Cymru MPs (left to right ) Ben Lake, Ann Davies, Liz Saville Roberts and Llinos Medi who won seats in the 2024 General Election. Photo: PA Images / Alamy

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A Plaid Cymru MP has said he is “sceptical but hopeful” Labour will do a better job than the Conservatives and spoke of the “big task” the party has in securing additional funding and pushing for powers to be devolved to the Welsh Parliament.

Ben Lake, who has served as a MP for Ceredigion since 2017, told Byline Times that the party – who won its target seats of Ynys Môn and Caerfyrddin from the Conservatives, and ended up with four in total in what its leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth called a “terrific” result – thinks it will now have “much greater clout” in Westminster.

“The Labour Party has a handsome majority in the Commons, but if history tells us anything, large majorities can be whittled down,” the 31-year-old said, adding: “Even before that happens, consistent energetic groups such as ours can make a difference and hold them to account.”

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While Lake said the party is still working to divide up portfolios and prepare to respond to the King’s Speech on July 9, “which will be the first real test and our opportunity to hold the government to account on many of its promises”, it has clear priorities in securing better Barnett consequentials – additional funding – for the Welsh government and pushing for devolution.

Lake said he had “lost count” of the number of occasions Labour MPs had promised more money, and now “they seem to be a bit colder on the whole idea in Government”.

We have a big task before us to secure that money because it’s not only fair, but it’ll also transform transport infrastructure in Wales. It’s sorely needed

Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru

Lake said he was optimistic that Labour would follow through on its English devolution plans. He noted an independent commission on the future of Wales recommended a number of powers that should be devolved to the Welsh Parliament, “particularly in the realms of criminal justice and rehabilitation”. Lake added they had been confirmed in several independent inquiries, including by the former Supreme Court Justice Thomas, who said they would improve “outcomes and people’s quality of life”.

Lake said Plaid Cymru is also “pushing” for devolution of welfare administration, as they have in Scotland, which allowed them to introduce child payments to tackle child poverty: “The Welsh Parliament should also be given these powers so we can support our families, as the level of child poverty in Wales is truly endemic.”

Asked about Labour’s landslide victory and the end of the Conservatives’ 14 years in power, Lake said his “enthusiasm is rather muted”, adding that he will “reserve judgement until I start to see some actions and decisions”.

“I very much hope they move away from the Conservative fiscal plans, which they seemed to be holding fast to during the election campaign,” he told Byline Times, adding that unless the Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, moves away from “those plans, I fear we won’t see the additional investment in our public services and communities that we need. I’m sceptical but hopeful that they will do better than the previous government.”

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Prime Minister Keir Starmer‘s comments about restoring standards in public life struck a chord with Lake who noted the current scandal involving Welsh First Minister, Vaughan Gething who has been branded “damaged goods” and is embroiled in a controversy concerning donations to his leadership campaign from a company owned by a man previously convicted of environmental offences.

“It would be interesting to see whether some of those standards would be cleared by the current Welsh First Minister,” he suggested.

Lake added that if he were in the Labour Party, “I’d be very wary of complacency in Wales”. “There’s much talk about change, which was a theme of the election, but in Wales, we’ve had a Labour-led administration for 25 years. So I suppose what I’d say is: ‘be careful what you wish for’.”

Llinos Medi, who has served as an MP for Ynys Môn since 2024, and as Leader of the Isle of Anglesey County Council since 2017, added that the “most important thing, whichever colour the government is, is that we become an honest government that people can trust, that we rebuild confidence in the nation”.

“Trust”, Medi said, was an issue she kept hearing on doorsteps while campaigning: “We need to rebuild trust. There was some nastiness during the election, but we need to move past that now and become more of a cohesive society on the island.”

Labour, she said, also needed to “work for that trust”, and be “fair”.

“We have an issue in Wales where we’ve asked for equity, for devolution to be the same as in other areas. We’ve asked for fair funding to recognise the demography and challenges we face. It’s up to Keir Starmer now – if he’s after a fair society, he’s going to fulfil the needs of Wales.”

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The economy, Medi explained, “is a massive issue”, with many industries leaving the island and an ageing population, “which becomes more challenging”.

“I need to understand the Labour government’s plans for strategic economic development in peripheral areas. Public services and community resilience are also affected,” she told Byline Times.

Like Lake, Medi was hopeful Labour will move in the right direction, but added “they haven’t shown any promises yet”, and vowed to challenge the Government to “recognise the needs of Wales. I’m interested to see their plans for devolution to mayors. Time will tell.”


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