BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Audio/Video: Programmes: Breakfast with Frost
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 

banner
Plaid Cymru's Ieuan Wyn Jones
Plaid Cymru's Ieuan Wyn Jones
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW WITH IEUAN WYN JONES ON APRIL 1ST, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST:

We can turn now to our next guest who's affected by two of today's main issues, the date of the General Election and the foot and mouth crisis which prompted the delay. Ieuan Wyn Jones, Leader of Plaid Cymru joins me now from Wales, top of the morning.

IEUAN WYN JONES:

Good morning David.

DAVID FROST:

Just a first question about Anglesey, what's the situation there this weekend because I know there have been terrible troubles in part of your constituency there with foot and mouth, how is it this weekend?

IEUAN WYN JONES:

Well although Anglesey which is behind me David, is looking very calm on a fine Sunday morning there's tremendous feeling of despair on the island because we're in the middle of a cull of 40,000 animals on the south-west corner of the island and that is the way that the officials and the veterinary officers have decided that we should deal with this enormous crisis that we've had, we've had 13 confirmed cases of foot and mouth and we're hoping that this cull will now bring it under control.

DAVID FROST:

Well we hope so too, of course. What about the other headline today, the date of the election, does that please you, concern you or what?

IEUAN WYN JONES:

Well I'm very pleased indeed that Tony Blair has decided not to call the election in May because I've been calling for some weeks now for the election to be delayed and I, probably more than anyone, understand the feelings of the farming community and the rural areas that in the middle of this national emergency that it would have been grossly irresponsible to call an election and I do hope that no election in fact will be called until this dreadful disease is under control.

DAVID FROST:

Until it's under control. And what about the election, what is going to be your main, your main thrust of your policy in this case, you're up to 30 per cent, do you think you can go further?

IEUAN WYN JONES:

Well of course this is a Westminster election and it may be difficult to achieve those kind of figures but what we'll be doing in this election is concentrating on two things. Firstly the way that Labour has turned its back on the people of Wales, we'll be looking at a fairer distribution of wealth throughout Wales because GDP levels have gone down under New Labour. And secondly we'll be looking to ensure that the National Assembly secures the same powers the Scottish Parliament, because clearly the National Assembly in its two years, first two years of existence has been hampered by inability to do things that they have been able to do in Scotland.

DAVID FROST:

And what about the words of Simon Glyn sort of setting the debate in the terms of English versus Welsh, do you approve of that or do you violently disapprove of that?

IEUAN WYN JONES:

I'm not quite sure why the words of a councillor have caused so much consternation David because I make it perfectly clear that Plaid Cymru as the Party of Wales is the party for the whole of Wales and I repeat that, that anybody who lives in Wales whether they speak Welsh, whether they speak English, where ever they come from are welcome in Plaid Cymru and we want to make sure that we are a force uniting Wales not dividing Wales and after all we are a tolerant party and I've spent a lot of time in recent weeks speaking to representatives of the ethnic minorities who are desperately under represented in Parliament insofar as Wales is concerned and the National Assembly.

DAVID FROST:

And what about in terms of the upcoming election, will you be saying you want all the powers for Wales that Scotland have at the moment, like, for instance, the tax-raising power?

IEUAN WYN JONES:

Yes we do and we think of that as important because we have seen that the Scottish Parliament has been able to do things that we haven't been able to do in Wales although, for example, there is a consensus in Wales that we want to do something about student hardship we simply haven't got the powers of the Scottish Parliament and although there's a fair degree of consensus also about long-term care for the elderly we're unable to implement those plans in Wales simply because we haven't got the powers. And there's also been some, the fact that some of the powers haven't been clarified in the National Assembly, the situation is much clearer in Scotland and I think the people of Wales, bearing in mind that we need a good education service, a good health service, we need to be able to tackle, for example, the fact that we could be seeing 3,000 steel jobs being lost in Wales. We need those powers to enable us to tackle the real issues affecting everybody's daily lives.

DAVID FROST:

And so what exactly is the situation in terms of your long-term goal, your spelt-out long-term ambition, is it total independence for Wales or not?

IEUAN WYN JONES:

We've never used the word independenceżour long-term aspiration is for national status for Wales within the European Union. I want to make it clear of course that we're fighting this election on securing the same powers for the National Assembly as the Scottish Parliament but clearly in the long-term we do have that long-term aspiration and I think it is right that the people of Wales know that.

DAVID FROST:

Just one postscript here, there was a wire story Ieuan yesterday, the environment agency yesterday launched an investigation after body fluids from mass graves on Anglesey leaked into nearby streams turning water red, do you know anything about that, can you confirm that?

IEUAN WYN JONES:

Well I know that an investigation is underway, what I have to say of course is the site that was originally chosen for the disposal of carcasses has been changed and all the carcasses have been removed to a land-fill site much nearer the middle of the island but what I can say that investigation is under-way but I can't comment any further.

DAVID FROST:

Thank you very much Ieuan for joining us, it's a pleasure to have you with us. Thank you. Thank you very much.

END

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE











E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Breakfast with Frost stories