NINE current and former Secretaries of State for Wales have signed a joint open letter saying we are stronger, safer and better off in Europe.
The signatories of the cross-party letter have a combined 40 years of experience representing Welsh interests of Wales at the very highest levels.
The letter – an unprecedented show of support for Wales’ position in Europe – says:
“The decision facing Welsh voters is about the sort of country we want to be; our place in the world, our relationships with our European neighbours and partners and how we trade and work with Europe.
“The choice in this referendum is clear: economic security and global influence as part of the EU, or a leap in the dark.
“A vote to stay is a vote for certainty. We’ll be stronger, safer and better off in Europe because we’ll get to keep access to the Single Market of 500 million people, with a say over the rules of doing business across Europe. That means more jobs, lower prices, and more financial security for British families.”
Current Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said;
"The decision we make on June 23 will affect our prospects for years to come. We have a choice between voting Remain to deliver jobs, investment and growth in our economy. Or we can vote Leave and face the very real prospect of recession.
"That is why it is so important everyone makes sure they are registered to vote, particularly our young people. They will be the ones who build our future businesses and deliver the bright future Wales deserves, but the best chance of doing this is with our country playing an active role in Europe - not sitting on the sidelines."
Labour’s Peter Hain, who served as Welsh secretary from 2002-08 and 2009-10, said:
"The benefits of EU membership are clear for Wales. It has meant jobs, investment and free access to the 500 million customers in the single market - as well as having a say about the rules governing how we do business in Europe.
"This is vital for Welsh farmers and producers, with more than 90% of our agricultural exports sold to the single market.
"EU membership has also funded top flight research at our universities and delivered new facilities including Swansea University's Bay Campus.
"Being part of Europe offers Wales security and stability, a vote to leave offers only uncertainty."
The letter has been signed by:
- The Rt Hon. the Lord Crickhowell (Secretary of State for Wales 1979-87)
- The Rt Hon. the Lord Hunt of Wirral (1990-93 & 1995)
- The Rt Hon. the Lord Hague of Richmond (1995-97)
- The Rt Hon. Ron Davies (1997-98)
- The Rt Hon. Alun Michael (1998-99)
- The Rt Hon. the Lord Murphy of Torfaen (1999-2002, 2008-09)
- The Rt Hon. the Lord Hain of Neath (2002-2008, 2009-2010)
- The Rt Hon. Stephen Crabb MP (20014-16)
- The Rt Hon. Alun Cairns MP
The declaration comes on the same day as a major day of cross-party campaigning encouraging voters to make sure their voices are heard on June 23.
As part of the registration drive, Alun Cairns will be joining Dafydd Wigley and Wales Stronger In Europe volunteers for a rally on Queen Street, Cardiff.
The complete letter reads as follows:
“Wales is stronger, safer and better off in a reformed European Union”
On June 23rd, we’ll be asked to take the most important political decision of our lifetime.
The signatories of this letter have all sat at the Cabinet table representing Wales. We draw upon 40 years of fighting for Welsh interests – both in Whitehall and in Brussels.
Politically, there is much on which we disagree but on the issue of Europe, we have set our party differences aside.
The decision facing Welsh voters is about the sort of country we want to be; our place in the world, our relationships with our European neighbours and partners and how we trade and work with Europe.
The choice in this referendum is clear: economic security and global influence as part of the EU, or a leap in the dark.
A vote to stay is a vote for certainty. We’ll be stronger, safer and better off in Europe because we’ll get to keep access to the Single Market of 500 million people, with a say over the rules of doing business across Europe. That means more jobs, lower prices, and more financial security for British families.
For Welsh businesses, this means protecting the 100,000 jobs that are directly linked to our trade in Europe.
For our Welsh farmers and producers, it means selling their goods on an open, unrestricted basis to an EU which accounts for over 90 per cent of Welsh agriculture exports and 98 per cent of our dairy products.
For our world class universities it means continued access to EU funds which support vital investments in world-beating research and innovation.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Welsh businesses, Welsh farmers and Welsh universities could suffer enormously if we left the single market.
A vote to leave is a vote for risk and uncertainty. Those campaigning for Brexit say they’ll walk away from the single market and negotiate a new deal, but they can’t explain what it would be and how long it will take.
Our judgement is clear: we are stronger, safer and better-off inside a reformed European Union.
We can choose the best of both worlds – that is why we jointly urge the Welsh people to vote in favour of remaining within a reformed European Union on June 23rd.
The Rt Hon. the Lord Crickhowell
The Rt Hon. the Lord Hunt of Wirral
The Rt Hon. the Lord Hague of Richmond
The Rt Hon. the Lord Hain of Neath
The Rt Hon. the Lord Murphy of Torfaen
The Rt Hon. Alun Michael
The Rt Hon. Ron Davies
The Rt Hon. Stephen Crabb MP
The Rt Hon. Alun Cairns MP