Plaid Cymru pledges Welsh independence referendum by 2026

11 December 2020, 05:41

Plaid Cymru is pushing for a Welsh Independence referendum
Plaid Cymru is pushing for a Welsh Independence referendum. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Wales will be offered an independence referendum within five years if Plaid Cymru commands a majority at next May's Welsh Parliament elections, the party's leader Adam Price said.

Mr Price said support for an independent Wales was now at its "highest" in history while devolution was under attack from Boris Johnson's Westminster Government.

The party leader also said the need to hold a referendum had been "accelerated" due to his belief that Scotland will become an independent nation by 2025 and that Brexit had made a united Ireland possible.

He will formally announce his proposal during a speech in Cardiff on Friday morning.

Mr Price will say that if he is able to command a majority of MSs in the Senedd after next May, the country will be offered one binary choice referendum on Welsh independence by 2026, within the first term of a Plaid government.

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Ahead of the speech, Mr Price said: "Devolution itself - that most basic democratic principle that decisions affecting Wales should be made in Wales - is under attack from Boris Johnson's Conservatives.

"Meanwhile, the demand for another independence referendum in Scotland is becoming unstoppable and by 2025 Scotland could well be an independent country. And Brexit has also given further impetus to the calls for a united Ireland.

"Wales is in real danger of being 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.

"It is for these reasons that I therefore 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."

In June, a poll revealed 25 per cent of voters in Wales supported independence if there was a referendum the next day, the highest ever level of support recorded.

But the same poll also found 25 per cent of people asked would choose to abolish the Welsh Parliament if they were given a referendum on doing so.

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It comes amid the news that the Welsh Government is planning a second firebreak lockdown from 28 December due to rising cases, a source has told LBC.

There is also a suggestion that Wales will move to a 4-tier system that will be reviewed every three weeks.

A final decision has not yet been made but the Welsh Cabinet has met to discuss the move, the industry source said.The plan is "due to immense pressure on the NHS and infection rates rising in all Welsh local authority (LA) areas", LBC was told.

It will initially be a nationwide approach, however ministers are considering LA-specific tiers in the medium-term.

It comes after all Welsh secondary schools and colleges were told they will move to online learning from Monday 14 December as part of a "national effort to reduce transmission of coronavirus".

Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams confirmed the move today, describing as part of a "national effort to reduce transmission of coronavirus".

It is understood that primary schools will remain open for in-person learning.

While half of all schools in Wales have had zero coronavirus cases since September, the Welsh government said education settings "can contribute to wider social mixing outside the school and college environment".