DESPITE the majority of Ceredigion voters marking an ‘X’ in the remain box, it has been revealed that the UK as a whole has decided to leave the EU.
Ceredigion was announced as the first Welsh local authority to vote remain, with 54.6% voting remain and 45.4% voting leave.
With a turnout of 74.4%, 21,711 people from Ceredigion decided that they wanted to remain in the EU while 18,031 contributed to the majority vote.
Mark Williams, Member of Parliament for Ceredigion and Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, stated: “I am deeply disappointed by this result, and I know that this sense of disappointment and worry will also be felt by many people throughout Wales and the UK.
“As a Party, the Welsh Liberal Democrats believe strongly in internationalism, working with our allies to tackle the biggest issues facing our planet such as climate change, and to provide greater opportunities to people in our country. While not perfect, I believe the European Union has been an important part of this aim.
“However, while I am disappointed in the result, we are where we are. The result has stated that the British people do not wish to be a member of the European Union. We must respect that democratic decision but make sure that in our negotiations the people of Wales do not lose out.”
He added: “It is absolutely vital now that the Government sets out a plan of action so that we know the options available to us to help ensure our businesses, our jobs, and our international relationships are not put at further risk in the aftermath of this decision.
“Now is not the time for more Government infighting at the expense of the people of Wales. The Government must give us confidence that Wales will not lose out in our exit from the European Union. Welsh jobs, in our cities and in our rural communities, rely on the support we receive from our membership, and our trade with the continent, and it is vital that the Government gives us assurance that this will continue outside of the European Union.”
Despite his disappointment with the overall result, Mr Williams has praised Ceredigion’s cross-party campaigners on their work for a ‘Remain’ vote in the European Union referendum by saying: “I have been greatly encouraged by the hard work of progressive-minded campaigners from across parties during this referendum campaign. It has been a pleasure to work so closely with people from other political parties and political viewpoints, all working together due to our shared recognition of the importance of our membership of the European Union to Wales.
“While this will be a very disappointing result for all of us who supported a ‘Remain’ vote, and especially for those who worked hard to make our case in Ceredigion, I am truly grateful for the dedicated, progressive, cross-party effort that we put forward.
“Despite the result, I hope that we can continue to work together at this point to ensure that the needs and interests of rural communities like Ceredigion are not ignored during the subsequent exit negotiations.”
Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “I am deeply disappointed in the result but the people have spoken and it is their will that we should leave the European Union.
“The European Union has been good for Carmarthenshire and has helped us build a stronger economy. We must now forge a new way forward that protects the business interests of the county.
“The leave campaigners promised that our departure from Europe would bring about an end to austerity and release funding for public services. We must now hold them to their word.”
In response to the result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, Elin Jones, Ceredigion AM said:
“I am personally devastated that Wales and the UK has voted to turn its back on the EU. It could well mean an economic collapse for areas such as Ceredigion so dependent on agricultural and economic support from the EU.
“The implications of such a vote are far-reaching and complex. I am particularly disappointed for our young people, who seem to have voted in far greater numbers for remaining in the EU – they will have to live with the consequences of this decision for far longer than most of us. Our future is now far more uncertain than it was even a week ago.
“The only shining light on a very bleak night for me was the Ceredigion result on the western periphery of Europe. I am proud to represent a county that wanted to see its future in Europe rather than out of it.”
Responding to the completely unexpected Brexit victory in the EU Referendum last Thursday, Dr Felix Aubel, a leading Vote Leave co-ordinator in West Wales, said: “It’s great to be alive. I’m so proud to be British. I’m delighted that Britain will once again become an independent self-governing country. The nation’s decision to support Brexit on Independence Day 23 June 2016, ranks alongside the most important events in the UK’s history. It ought to be made a public holiday”.
Dr Aubel continued, “I wish to thank my very enthusiastic Brexit co-workers for their never-say-die attitude. We comfortably achieved our objectives of securing more than 45% of the vote in Ceredigion (allegedly the most pro-EU county in Britain), as well as gaining decisive Leave victories in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire”.
Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Ellen ap Gwynn told The Herald: “Personally, I am deeply shocked by the result of the referendum and am fearful for the implications that leaving the EU will have on our rural communities here in Ceredigion, although we had a majority wanting to remain a member.
“We have already seen the value of the £ plummet and the market fall to a level that will badly affect our pension funds and increase the cost of imports. Ceredigion has been a net beneficiary of EU funding since 2000 and our local economy will be hard hit in many ways. The money we have received for infrastructure project such as sea defences, research funding received by the Universities, community project funding, tourism projects and especially when the £44m annually that was paid to farmers is removed, there will be a serious impact on life in rural Wales.
“Successive London governments have ignored the very real needs of Wales and I cannot see that those who have extracted our natural resources with very little payback over the years will change the funding formula to our advantage. I am afraid that in the medium term, that the future for the local economy and for Local Government funding and services looks bleak.”