A motion has been tabled by Plaid Cymru in the Welsh parliament to debate whether Welsh ministers should be given the right to call a referendum on independence in the future.
The party’s leader Adam Price has said a new ‘national consciousness’ towards Welsh independence had been boosted by the government’s contrasting pandemic response to the UK government.
He said the motion, to be heard on Wednesday, was prompted by growing self-confidence in the nation due to its Covid-19 divergence from England.
‘I think that it’s caused many more people again to question the future for Wales as a nation, whether we’re actually better placed to make decisions for ourselves,’ he told the PA News Agency.
‘Not just in the limited context that we have at the moment, but also across a broad array of powers that would come to us as an independent nation.’
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He added: ‘I think that absolutely has changed the context, entirely. And I think that people are seeing Welsh politics, Welsh government, the Senedd, the elections next year, the future of Wales as a nation in these constitutional terms, through a very different lens, even compared to a few months ago.
‘I think that in the midst of this dark cloud that has been the coronavirus crisis, in terms of Welsh democracy, there is a silver lining there because we are having a national conversation.
‘There is a national consciousness about Wales, a Welsh Government, the role of the First Minister, and Welsh health minister, the Welsh education minister.
‘And I think that is a bit of a game changer in the way that we not just regard Welsh politics in the months ahead and leading up to the next election, but on the deeper question about where do we want to be as a nation over the next decade, and the fundamental question for us of course is independence.’
Price said the ‘largely positive’ response to Mark Drakeford’s government would lead the public to question whether they would be better off by breaking free from England.
‘I think we have seen that in those areas where things haven’t worked so well, it’s tended to be where we’ve listened to the kind of ‘Westminster knows best’ kind of mantra,’ he said.
‘Well Westminster doesn’t always know best, as we’ve seen, and I think that’s been pointed out rather starkly over the last few months.’
But he admitted independence would not receive widespread support from the public unless they were presented with ‘detailed answers’ to questions on currency, international relationships and borders, for an independent Wales.
He said his party’s independence commission would publish a report later this year on what an independent Wales would look like ahead of the 2021 Welsh parliament elections.