Labour slam Plaid MP for attacking Welsh rugby captain Sam Warburton

6th March 2014

Commenting after a Plaid Cymru MP attacked Wales rugby Captain, Sam Warburton, for saying that he feels British, as well as Welsh, Shadow Welsh Secretary, Owen Smith, MP, said:

“I commend Sam Warburton for simply telling the truth about the proud, shared identities he has, as a Welshman and a British citizen. And I equally condemn Plaid Cymru for daring to challenge Sam’s role as captain of Wales in light of his feeling of belonging to both Wales and the wider UK. I feel exactly as Sam does, as do millions of Welshmen and women in Wales and across the World. And anyone who has seen Sam play, both as captain of Wales and as captain of the British Lions, can be in no doubt about the commitment and the passion with which he pulls on either shirt.

“This incident is, however, a sharp reminder of the mean-spirited nature of nationalism that insists people choose between the different allegiances and identities that they may legitimately feel at any one time. Sam was responding to ill-considered comments by some of the English players, suggesting that the Welsh hate the English, and showed a maturity and an understanding of Wales that is so often lacking in the ranks of Plaid Cymru. We don’t hate our English brothers and sisters in Wales. But we do want to win on Sunday, and I’m confident Sam Warburton will proudly lead us to that victory.”

Labour's candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Calum Higgins, added:

"Attacking the Welsh captain a few days before a crunch match with England is simply unforgivable. "Jonathan Edwards' crass comments show how out of touch Plaid Cymru are. While the rest of Wales is gearing up to support the Welsh team in the hope we can win a historic third Six Nations title in three years, Plaid are more interested in trying to run down Sam Warburton for not agreeing with their world view."