Welsh independence warning: Referendum could happen WITHOUT Westminster’s consent
Welsh election may be 'moment of rebirth' says Adam Price
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The Welsh Nationalist party, who are set to make big gains in next week’s Senedd elections, spoke to the Daily Express as part of a series of leader interviews ahead of next week’s vote. Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price today pledged that he wouldn’t rule out a de facto Welsh independence referendum if Westminster refused permission for a groundbreaking vote.
Mr Price told this publication he believes Welsh voters should put their “own future into their hands” as Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are set to win a landslide victory in Holyrood on Thursday.
Plaid Cymru chiefs have pledged that an independence referendum would be held in the next five years if they win next Thursday.
The pledge is a first for the party which never previously promised to offer an independence vote in the first term of a Plaid government.
If elected, Plaid would hold a vote in the second half of the next term of the Senedd Cymru and set up an independence Commission to get the “detailed answers” to the independence question such as currency and defence.
Mr Price added: “The UK is politically unequal.
“As four-nations, we need a cooperative model in deciding a set of rules rather than Westminster trumping the legislatures.
“We believe we need a new Wales and take the future into our own hands.
“We want cooperation but on a principle of equal partnership as independent nations working together not a top-down system based on the supremacy of Westminster.”
Mr Price took the example of the Scottish Government and claims the Tories in Westminster have respected Scotland more since the SNP came to power in 2007.
He added: “The reelection of an SNP Government back in 2007 changed the way relations between the devolved administrations worked.
“The Scottish Government gets a lot more respect from the Westminster Government, it is a degree of respect and fear.
“With the threat of Scottish independence, Scotland is a dominant issue with Westminster, whether Wales is ignored and treated with contempt.”
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When asked what would happen if Boris Johnson refused a request for a Welsh independence vote after he refused a similar request for a second Scottish vote by Nicola Sturgeon last year, Mr Price said: “I think it would be difficult for Westminster to apply the same argument as Scotland.
“If that was refused, we would have to look at other means at which we could advance the situation.
Mr Price, also hinted they could hold an “advisory referendum” to get the opinion of the Welsh people but made clear this wasn’t a preferred option.
Turning to their election priorities for the Welsh people, the party said a Plaid Cymru government would set Wales on a “new path” towards the party’s vision of transforming the nation by 2030.
Mr Price said the party would provide 6,000 extra healthcare professionals – 4,000 nurses, 1,000 doctors and 1,000 allied health professionals.
There would also be a plan for a minimum wage of £10 an hour for care workers.
The party would also provide free school meals for all children in families receiving Universal Credit and employ 4,500 extra teachers.
He added: “We’ve got to have change in Wales with a new government with new ideas.
“We will deliver quality jobs in Wales and better lives for everyone in our community.”
Turning to the current issues with Welsh politics, Mr Price told the Daily Express the biggest failure by the Labour-run Welsh government had been on the economy and claimed it hadn’t grown since 1999.
He added: “There is a lack of drive and creativity from the Labour Welsh Government to transform the economy.”
Mr Price said the election of a Plaid Cymru Government would allow Wales to “realise its true potential to lift out of this rut of poverty for excessive generations.”
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Turning to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Price said Wales being able to make its own decisions about lifting and implementing lockdown restrictions had boasted a “sense of pride” amongst the Welsh people.
He added: “People have looked on with pride in the way the Welsh Government has dealt with the pandemic.
“It’s led to a sense of self-confidence and calls for more powers for the Senedd.”
An SNP source said of Mr Price’s plans for independence: “Adam Price is a truly remarkable hero for Welsh politics.
“We encourage people in Wales to think long and hard about the political situation and urge them to take their future into their own hands.”
Following Mr Price’s comments today, UK Government sources told the Daily Express that Mr Johnson was “closely watching” the political situation in Wales.
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