It's time to put Welsh independence on agenda – Leanne Wood

The leader of Plaid Cymru has called for the people of Wales to start discussing the possibility of the country becoming independent.

Leanne Wood said Brexit was an opportunity to break free from the UK – and though Wales voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU she argued that its citizens would think again if the country became independent.

Plaid has long advocated independence for Wales but seen it as a long-term aspiration rather than a short-term goal. Brexit has altered that.

Wood said: “Last Thursday’s vote has changed everything. In all likelihood, with Scotland voting to remain, the UK will cease to exist in the near future. Northern Ireland will be considering its future too.

“Even though this situation was not of our making, Plaid Cymru believes that redesigning the current UK is the only option. A new union of independent nations working together for the common good.

“It is my belief that this independent Wales in a completely different context to last week’s referendum would want to be a part of the European Union.

“This is a huge challenge that we face. All of us, whether we voted in or out should be prepared to be bold and confident in being able to forge a new, strong, inclusive, outward-looking future for our nation.”

Generally, polls put the number of Welsh people keen on independence at around 10%. Following last year’s Scottish independence referendum, the number fell to 3% in one poll.

Wood said she believed attitudes had changed.

“It’s time to put independence on the agenda now in order to safeguard Wales’s future. This is about us beginning a national conversation rather than calling for a referendum, though that is where it will end up.

“The Welsh economy and our constitution face unprecedented challenges. We must explore options that haven’t been properly debated until now.

“Prior to Brexit people were talking about wanting to take more control over their lives and the need for us to have confidence. People in Wales should have control over the decisions that impact on the day to day control of their lives.

“I will be outlining the way forward to a special conference of Plaid Cymru members shortly where we will have an opportunity to discuss this further.”

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