FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford has been accused of “looking backward not forward” on the future of Wales when it comes to independence, Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS has said.
Challenging Mr Drakeford during today’s FMQs, the Plaid Cymru Leader said that it was independence – not home rule – that would solve Wales’s “democratic deficit”.
Last Friday, Mark Drakeford called for “home rule” for Wales within the United Kingdom.
Mr Price said that Wales had never voted Conservative but has had a Conservative Government in Westminster ‘for two thirds of the time’ – and that was unlikely to change “anytime soon”.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said that independence was the “only way” to ensure that all decisions affecting Wales were “made in Wales” and to ensure Wales became a “better, fairer and more equal” country.
Recent polling has shown support for Welsh independence to be on the rise.
Support for Welsh independence is also growing within the Labour party with polling suggesting half of Labour voters in Wales are supportive of an independent Wales.
The head of Labour for Indy Wales Bob Lloyd, said yesterday in the Daily Express that “For the last 100 years Wales has voted for a socialist party in domestic elections yet hasn’t got what it’s asked for.” Sam Pritchard, Chair of the Wales Co-operative Party, said that independence was the “best way to achieve a more equal society and not be bound by the voting patterns of people in the south of England”.
The First Minister has previously suggested supporters of Welsh independence are inward-looking and inherently right-wing. Yesterday, Labour MP Chris Bryant dismissed independence supporters as ‘childish’.
Mr Price called the comments “deeply disappointing” and said Welsh independence was about looking “outward […] forging alliances, and developing relationships on these islands and beyond”.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said,
“Wales has never voted Tory yet we’ve had Tory Governments for two thirds of the time. There’s no reason to believe that will change anytime soon.
“The First Minister describes independence as a nineteenth century response to a 21st century problem, going on to propose home rule instead, itself an idea from the 1880s. The problem is that Home rule will never solve the Welsh democratic deficit – only independence can do that.
“Westminster has never seen itself as Wales’ partner in constitutional terms. Independence will ensure all decisions affecting Wales are made in Wales and to enable Wales to become a better, fairer and more equal nation.
“It is deeply disappointing to hear the First Minister and his Labour colleague tarnish one third of the population by suggesting they are ‘inward-looking’ and ‘childish’. Welsh independence is about looking outward – not inward, taking off Westminster’s blinkers and replace them with our Welsh internationalist lens – making friends, forging alliances, and developing relationships on these islands and beyond.
“With recent polls showing that more than half of Labour voters are now in favour of independence, that support is highest among our young people, on the national question is it not the independence movement but the First Minister that is looking backward not forward to the future of our country.