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Independence-supporting Labour Senedd candidate calls referendum ‘divisive’

05 Apr 2021 4 minute read
Dylan Lewis-Rowlands. Picture from his campaign’s Facebook page

An independence-supporting Labour candidate for the Senedd has claimed a referendum would be “divisive”.

Dylan Lewis-Rowlands, who is standing in Ceredigion, claimed that while 51% of Labour supporters in Wales were pro-independence, the majority rejected a “divisive referendum”.

Plaid Cymru’s Director of Political Strategy, Aled ap Dafydd, has responded by saying he is “rather perplexed” by the comments.

Lewis-Rowlands suggested that in the next Senedd term, Labour supporters wanted more powers to be devolved to Wales from the UK government instead of a referendum on independence.

He made the comments in response to a call from Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price in Nation.Cymru for Labour supporters who back Welsh independence to back them in the Senedd elections.

Price made the case that independence is “the only way” to protect Wales from a Westminster assault on devolution and added that the “thin red line” of powers favoured by Labour was now insufficient to protect against a UK Government “redoubling its efforts” to roll back Wales’ autonomy.

Lewis-Rowlands also claimed that Plaid had yet to give a clear picture of what independence might look like for Wales.

Dylan Lewis-Rowlands told the BBC: “We understand that we need to build wales up, prepare Wales for the future so that we can then get the society that we want.

“What Wales deserves here is stronger powers, so that we can make the changes we want to make in Wales”.

Plaid Cymru’s Director of Political Strategy Aled ap Dafydd said: “Rather perplexed by the quote from the indy supporting Labour candidate. Against a referendum in the next Senedd term and calling it ‘divisive’. Does ‪@Lab4IndyWales have a position on this?”

‘Undermine devolution’

Writing exclusively for Nation.Cymru, Adam Price said: “In recent weeks it has become clearer that the UK Government is redoubling its efforts to undermine devolution and wipe Wales off the political map.

“Their insistence on draping everything in the Union Jack exposes the panic and insecurity which is taking hold in Westminster as the independence movements in Wales and Scotland gather momentum.

Adam Price said that many Labour supporters were “frustrated” at their party leadership’s reluctance to keep pace with the constitutional debate in Wales.

“They can be confident that a Plaid Cymru government would not only deliver the referendum on Welsh independence that they so desire,” he said, “but also radical social policies – from extending free school meals to a real living wage to care workers to doing far more to tackle the climate crisis – to deliver the vision of a fairer, greener Wales that we share.

“Plaid Cymru is interested in transforming, not tinkering. We are impatient to deliver real change in real-time and will do so with policies designed to make up for the last two decades of drift.

“Independence is the only way to ensure that Wales’ future is in Wales’ hands.

“If we are to raise wages, create a transport system fit for the 21st century, improve our public services and protect our environment, we must cut ties with a political union which has ignored our needs and held us back for centuries, and finally unleash Wales’s full potential.”

“Labour’s thin red line – the combination of insufficient powers and a reluctance to challenge the Tory UK government – is breaking, leaving Wales further exposed to the worst excesses of Westminster.

“That is why Wales needs a pro-independence government, far bolder in its challenge to the UK Government and far better at banging the drum for our nation’s best interests.

“We know from Scotland’s experience that the more your government is willing to stand up to Boris Johnson and his Cabinet of chaos, the more your voice will be heard.”

After Dylan Lewis-Rowlands was selected as a candidate, the campaign group Labour 4 Indy Wales welcomed the news, saying: “Dylan ran in Ceredigion as a pro-indy candidate, believes that Indy Wales is the future, and that our party must step up to deliver socialism through independence.

“This is great news and we look forward to campaigning with him!”

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