EU referendum must not detract from focus on Assembly elections
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the UK Government to ensure that their planned EU referendum does not clash with elections to the National Assembly for Wales.
Speaking in the Siambr today, William Powell AM warned that holding a referendum on EU membership in the run up to or at the same time as Welsh Assembly elections would restrict the ability for a full debate on the future of Wales and devolved issues.
William Powell, the Welsh Liberal Democrat AM for Mid & West Wales and chair of the Cross-party Group on Europe, said:
"Our membership of the European Union is one of the biggest questions facing our country. For that reason, if an EU referendum were to clash with an Assembly election campaign there is a huge risk that it would completely overshadow it.
"The Welsh people need time to consider the important issues at stake in next year's election. Holding a referendum of such importance at the same time as these elections would be detrimental to ensuring a focused and informed debate on the issues facing the people of Wales.
"Liberal Democrats are convinced that our future as a country is leading the EU, not leaving it, and we will always make that case against pulling up the drawbridge and turning our backs on Europe."