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No democratic mandate for an independence referendum unless Plaid Cymru win, First Minister says

28 Mar 2021 2 minutes Read
First Minister Mark Drakeford AM. Mark Hawkins / Alamy Stock Photo. Adam Price. Picture by Plaid Cymru / Kevin John Photography.

Plaid Cymru would have to win the Senedd election outright before there would be a democratic mandate for a Welsh independence referendum, the First Minister has said.

Mark Drakeford was asked on the Andrew Marr show whether he would accept an independence referendum as the price of a coalition with Plaid Cymru.

He answered that he did not think there was a mandate for one unless Plaid Cymru won the most votes.

Andrew Marr asked: “If after these elections you have the options or the necessity to go into a coalition government with Plaid, would you accept an independence referendum in Wales as the price for that?”

“I’ve always said myself that if a party that proposes such a referendum wins an election, then of course such a referendum should be held in Wales,” he said.

“But if you can’t win an election with that proposition, then I don’t think you have the democractic mandate to do so.”

Andrew Marr answered: “So that sounds like no!”

‘Detatched’

Asked whether he himself was a Unionist, Mark Drakeford said that “Wales’ future is best secured by participating in a successful United Kingdom”.

“And I think the United Kingdom is better for having Wales in it.”

He was then asked why he had three pro-independent candidates standing in the election and whether Labour in Wales was “drifting in a pro-independence way”.

“Well the experience of coronavirus on the one hand and the Johnson government on the other has undoubtedly made many people in Wales wonder whether we would be better off in a more detached position,” he said.

“Once you have conversations with people, once you ask them what they mean by independence, then I think what they describe is what we describe in the Labour party.”

He added: “My ambition leading Wales is to have powerful devolution, that the decisions that matter to people in Wales are made by people who live in Wales.

“But we carry on being part of a United Kingdom that is fair to all and delivers for all.”

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