WALES First Minster Carwyn Jones and UKIP leader Nigel Farage have squared off over the upcoming EU referendum.
At a debate in the Wales Millennium Centre last night tempers flared in the ‘Europe: In or Out’ debate.
In what was described as a “shouting match” by observers Mr Farage argued for leaving while Mr Jones said Britain should retain its membership.
In his opening statements Mr Farage said: “This debate is not about Europe the continent which is a diverse continent of cultures and peoples… and is a fascinating place. This is about the EU.”
The First Minister responded with: “Wales is at home in Europe and Europe is at home in Wales. A vote to stay in is a vote of a confident nation.
“I am a proud Welsh man. I am proud to be British and I am proud to be European.
The arguments focused on economics, decisions making and immigration, the last point promoting an ominous ”oooo” from the audience.
Polls afterwards suggested a comfortable Farage victory. He tweeted after: “Enjoyed #IWADebate just now. Let’s Leave EU & take back control of our borders, make our own laws and negotiate our own trade deals.”
Former MP Mark Reckless, who lost his seat after defecting to UKIP reflected on the match-up between the two politicians. Speaking afterwards he said: “I thought it was as superb debate.
“I haven’t changed my mind. I have thought long and hard about it and I’m not a floating voter on this one.”
He refused to be drawn on whether Mr Farage’s position of leader would be questioned if he lost the referendum. He said: “I think you will have to ask Nigel that one.”
There were some grumblings that the leaders had failed to be positive in their future visions for Britain.
Kate Rauwerda attended the event. She said: “While it was fantastic to see the IWA and Cardiff University hosting such a widely publicised, high level debate here in Wales, I couldn’t help but be disappointed by both leaders’ inability to portray a positive image of how the UK might benefit from either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ vote.
“The real loser was the electorate, which deserves more than the same old scaremongering from both sides of the debate.”
Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrot agreed. She said: “Neither person came out of this shouting match particularly well.
“Carwyn Jones was right to be arguing the importance of the UK remaining the EU. Yet, his views are in stark contrast to his party in London where Jeremy Corbyn remains ambivalent on this major issue.
Key quotes from Nigel Farage:
On another Scottish referendum: “Luton might vote different to the rest of the UK but they are not going to leave.”
“Governments don’t do business. Businesses do business”
Key quotes from Carwyn Jones:
“If you felt that strongly about fisheries why didn’t you go to 42 fisheries meetings.”
“Where did you get the 75% figure? You’re making it up as you go along!”