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Labour and Plaid ‘agree deal to work together’ in Senedd

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Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru are understood to have struck a deal to work together in the Senedd after several weeks of protracted negotiations.

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A Welsh Labour source has said there was “solid support” for the deal among the executive committee, which met on Saturday to thrash out the draft agreement.

The mood in the room indicated executive members considered it “was an opportunity to strengthen the delivery of the Welsh Labour manifesto”. It’s understood Plaid Cymru’s national executive committee supported the overall arrangement subject to support from party members.

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The “very wide-ranging” deal pledges to extend free school meals to all primary school pupils. There are also proposals to change council tax, reform social care, expand free childcare, and enact measures on second homes.

In a blog post written after the meeting Darren Williams, a member of Labour’s executive committee, said Wales’ First Minister had presented the cooperation agreement following several weeks of negotiations. Mr Drakeford urged the WEC to support it, Mr Williams wrote.

Mr Williams added the long-term agreement was seen as a way to “provide political stability for the duration of the Senedd term and enable Labour to get its programme through, or ad hoc agreements with other parties on an issue-by-issue basis”.

Firm details about what the deal contains are still being kept under wraps by the Welsh Government but Mr Williams said it included free childcare for all two-year-olds, creation of a national care service, limits on second home ownership, the creation of a publicly-owned construction company and an energy company, and changes in the Senedd’s size.

There are also plans afoot to introduce measures to promote the Welsh language.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Talks have been held with Plaid Cymru about developing an agreement. Those talks have reached a conclusion and discussions are now ongoing with political groups and parties.” It’s expected that the deal will be published on Monday.

An agreement of some sort is important for Welsh Labour as the party has no overall majority to deal with “challenging and ambitious issues” having 30 of the 60 seats in Cardiff Bay.

Talks began officially in September although both Plaid and Labour had been looking at ways they could work together throughout the summer. In mid-October Mr Drakeford said the “discussions need to come to a conclusion” and they could not “continue forever”.

The Conservatives have strongly criticised the agreement saying it will “inflict…. despair” on Wales and cause “constitutional chaos.”

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