Ed Miliband believes his Labour party can fight off a surge of Conservative support in Flintshire and he claims the coalition Government in Westminster ‘is sacrificing much of what this country holds dear’. Here is his full and frank interview with the Flintshire Chronicle:
You have come out in support of the Yes campaign to give more power to the Welsh Assembly. Why should people vote Yes?
The people of Wales have a clear choice about their future on March 3. I’m urging people to vote Yes – yes to greater power for people to make their own decisions, rather than have them imposed by Westminster, and yes to a more democratic and accountable Assembly for the people of Wales.
Devolution has been a big success, and the next step is about Wales not having to go to London when it wants to make changes within the devolved policy areas, but rather being able to make the changes itself.
This is not about a slippery slope to independence, it’s about giving Wales a stronger voice in the union.
Labour is working hard for a Yes vote because it is right for Wales and it is right for Britain. It is our task to take that message to Wales. We are fighting a positive campaign about how Wales can benefit from approving this change, as well as how Wales can benefit from returning a Labour Assembly.
At last year’s General Election the Conservatives closed the gap significantly on Labour’s MPs in Alyn and Deeside and Delyn. Are you confident Flintshire can remain a Labour stronghold?
The political map is quite fluid at the moment, but Mark Tami and David Hanson are both excellent MPs who saw off strong challenges from the Conservatives in 2010 because they are well respected in their constituencies. I know the same is true for Sandy Mewies and for Carl Sargeant, both of whom are doing a fantastic job for local people.
We were in power in Westminster for 13 years, and we lost touch in some areas. But I think as the Labour Party reconnects with people during the coming months and years with our policy review, and as we prove that we can be the voice of the people in tough times, we will strengthen our position in Flintshire and around the country.
I think that’s particularly the case in Wales now the Conservative-led Government has come to power in Westminster. The Labour-led Assembly in Wales is working very strongly together with Welsh Labour MPs to show there is an alternative to these decisions being made by the Government in Westminster, which is going too far, too fast.
As we’ve seen, devolved power offers Welsh people an alternative to the decisions of that Conservative-led Government. It offers a way for the people of Wales to reject the trebling of tuition fees for its young people, and to soften the blow of excessive cuts to local government, for example.