I started 2024 by meeting the voters of Corwen and Cynwyd, in Denbighshire, which now form a part of the enlarged Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency due to the boundary review. The message I heard was loud and clear: people want change, and they want it now.

Rishi Sunak started 2024 by indicating his plan to deprive us of the opportunity for change until the autumn. But whether he likes it or not, change is coming this year.

Few would blame people for wanting to be rid of this Tory government. People have suffered 14 years of economic decline and toxic politics from Westminster. Wages are stagnant while costs rocket, but the Tories are too busy fighting culture wars to care about people’s concerns. But what does change mean for Wales?

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Labour have held the keys to many public services in Wales since 1999, yet we suffer from sky high NHS waiting lists, a third of our children are living in poverty, and low productivity blights our economy.

Welsh Labour leadership candidates are keen to tell us that a UK Labour government will solve all our problems, even though Keir Starmer himself has given us no reason to believe that any substantial change is on the way.

Wales just isn’t a priority for Starmer’s Labour.

He hasn’t promised to deliver the cash our public services need. He won’t commit to deliver the billions owed in HS2 funds. He won’t commit to the devolution of the Crown Estate, which would secure that profits from our natural resources stay in Wales. He won’t even commit to fixing the anomaly that sees Welsh policing controlled by London - while London itself, as well as Manchester, holds devolved powers over policing.

Starmer has done nothing to suggest he will deliver parity of powers with Scotland. He will stick to the Tories’ self-imposed fiscal rules and stay wedded to Brexit trade barriers which are hampering Welsh businesses.

Plaid MP Liz Savile Roberts
Plaid MP Liz Savile Roberts

The colour of the government in Westminster may change, but the fundamentals will remain. A change of government in Westminster from blue to a shade of red may do little to ease the burden on ordinary households in Wales.

A strong group of Plaid Cymru MPs will keep Keir Starmer in check and ensure that Wales gets the change we need from the next Westminster government. With enough Plaid MPs, Wales could have leverage to demand fair funding for Wales, for the billions owed in HS2 funds, for the devolution of powers over the Crown Estate.

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With Starmer walking in Sunak’s shadow, Wales will be little more than an afterthought. Only Plaid Cymru can be relied upon to put the interests of Wales front and centre. We will work tirelessly to return the largest possible cohort of MPs to Westminster to demand our nation has greater control over our future.

We’re facing a crucial election this year. Wales has voted Labour for over a century. Look around in your communities and ask yourself – isn’t it time we try something different?