Plaid Cymru pledge independence vote if it wins Senedd election

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image captionAdam Price is seeking a referendum on independence for Wales by 2030

A vote for Plaid Cymru is now a vote for an independence referendum in Wales, the party has said.

On Friday, leader Adam Price will promise that Plaid would offer a referendum if it formed a government and got a Senedd majority to back it.

It is a first for the party, which has never previously promised to offer an independence vote in the first term of a Plaid government.

But the power to call a vote would still lie with the UK government.

It allowed one to take place in Scotland in 2014 after the SNP won a majority in the Scottish Parliament elections three years earlier.

In a speech later, Mr Price will say something “new and better” must come out of the Covid crisis and “independence is the most radical idea in Welsh politics today”.

He will tell an audience watching via social media, that devolution is “under attack” from Boris Johnson’s government and that Scottish demands for a second independence referendum are “unstoppable”.

“Wales is in real danger of being be left behind as part of a rump United Kingdom, in a new England-and-Wales formation – which would be the ultimate worst of all worlds,” he will say.

“It is for these reasons that I pledge today that, subject to party approval, a Plaid Cymru government, able to command a majority in the Senedd, will offer a referendum on independence for Wales in its first term.”

image captionIndependence rallies attracted large crowds prior to the pandemic

Previously Mr Price had said a referendum would take place in the second term of a Plaid government and before 2030.

The change in policy comes in response to a report commissioned by he party which recommended two referendums on independence.

The first to be a “multi-choice” exercise to gauge opinion, and the second a vote on the preferred option in the referendum.

Now Mr Price is promising one single vote offering a choice between independence and the status quo.

The political impasse over Brexit in 2019 saw a variety of pro-independence marches around Wales, organised by non-party political groups and attended by thousands of demonstrators.

Referencing those events, Mr Price will make a direct pitch to those who attended for their support.

“Whilst banners and marches fuel our fire, the Welsh spring will only truly bloom at the ballot box in May. If you want independence, you have to vote for it by voting Plaid Cymru.”

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