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Independence groups submit joint letter to Constitutional Commission calling for Senedd right to hold referendum

29 Jul 2022 4 minute read
Picture by YesCymru

Groups campaigning for independence, including YesCymru, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru, have joined forces to call for the right of the Senedd to hold a referendum on Welsh independence.

In an open letter to the Constitutional Commission established by the Welsh Government, groups and parties including YesCymru, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, Plaid Cymru, the Wales Green Party, Undod and Labour for an Independent Wales have called for an unfettered right for the Senedd to trigger a public vote on the question.

The letter states: “We are jointly writing to underline one particular point of principle that we have in common: the fundamental right of the people of Wales to decide their own constitutional status.

“In terms of the work of your Commission, we therefore call for the right for Wales, through its elected Senedd, to decide whether or not it should be an independent country, without interference from Westminster.”

The groups warn that a clear process is needed because of the uncertainty seen in countries like Catalonia and Scotland. The letter continues:

“There should be a clear process and mechanism that will allow Wales to hold a referendum on independence. The timing and associated details of that vote should be matters for the people of Wales and their Senedd to decide, not Westminster.”

The letter was co-ordinated by the think tank Melin Drafod and Talat Chaudhri its Chair said:

“The Welsh Government’s Commission needs to show that it is seriously considering independence. The members need to set out a practical plan to enable the people of Wales to make their own choice. At the moment, even to ask the question, it’s at the whim of the government in London. That needs to change at the very least.”

The Welsh Government Constitutional Commission’s public consultation closes on 31st July.

The full letter

Open Letter to the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales

Dear Commissioners,

Wales is on a journey to independence; and we want to forge a path to a progressive independent future.

As individual organisations and parties, we have a range of views on the specifics of your Commission’s work.

We are jointly writing to underline one particular point of principle that we have in common: the fundamental right of the people of Wales to decide their own constitutional status.

In terms of the work of your Commission, we therefore call for the right for Wales, through its elected Senedd, to decide whether or not it should be an independent country, without interference from Westminster.

There should be a clear process and mechanism that will allow Wales to hold a referendum on independence. The timing and associated details of that vote should be matters for the people of Wales and their Senedd to decide, not Westminster.

We have seen serious consequences arising from a lack of clarity and lack of rights of sub-states like Catalonia facing similar circumstances. We see a similar danger developing here if the UK Supreme Court does not later this year protect Scotland’s fundamental right to hold a referendum consistent with the majority view of representatives in its legislature.

We therefore call for your Commision to make clear that a majority in the Senedd should have the power, unfettered by Westminster, to hold a referendum on independence for Wales.

Yours faithfully,

Talat Chaudhri, Chair, Melin Drafod

Anthony Slaughter, Leader, Wales Green Party

Dylan Lewis-Rowlands, Co-chair, Labour for an Independent Wales

Harriet Protheroe-Soltani, All Under One Banner Cymru

Sam Coates, Undod

Mabli Siriol, Chair, Cymdeithas yr Iaith

Elfed Williams, Chair, YesCymru

Luke Fletcher MS, Plaid Cymru


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago

You can add my name to the list of the Faithful…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

With the strong likelihood that Liz Truss will become the new Prime Minister of the UK we are probably going to witness the final nail in the coffin of this group of countries as a viable democratic entity! So the sooner the Senedd wake up and smell the coffee (or Dilyn’s little ‘fig’) the better. We must agree on Independence as being our only salvation and work toward it with all our collective might, those who disagree must be discarded as no longer needed on this journey. The new generation of voters coming up must be the extra troops needed… Read more »

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
17 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Just teach Welsh children Welsh history you will soon have independents

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago
Reply to  Malcolm rj

I wish they would, it is a hell of a good story, my best 3 years was in Aber studying Hanes Cymru as a mature student. As a kid absolutely bored stupid in high school. Growing up in Dol the history was in the buildings, the smell of wool, the Aran, with the old boot factory and the remains of the Pandy, on the Mawddach there was Cymer Abbey, ship building and gold mining and from Abermaw the sailing ships travelled the world carrying Blaenau slate and oak bark to Ireland and later in Tal y Bont it was on… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Mark the scams are back…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

It’s all written elsewhere in the press today, stuffing the House of Fun, the antipodean involvement, the likelihood of old faces returning to haunt us, the auction…the end of days as far as British democracy is concerned…

Last edited 17 days ago by Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Fat Shanks has his Aussie draw up the plans to stuff the Lords with dozens of bought cronies. The noose pulls a little tighter every day. When Truss gets her feet under the table she will kick the chair away and leave us all hanging by the neck…as the old Deadwood stager rolls into Number 11 to polish up the NHS for sale to the highest American bidder… like rust this bunch of carpet bagging Tories never sleep. Unlike Starman…

William Glyn THOMAS
William Glyn THOMAS
17 days ago

I do not wish to make anyone suck eggs- BUT – With demonstrations becoming more and more frequent because of pathetic Politicians (of all Colours) Police are frequently suggesting to people arrested that they should agree to accept a CAUTION. Do not fall for this. The reason the police want you to accept a caution is that it boosts their statistics. It can also be an indication that their evidence is weak. WARNING To agree to “Accept a caution” means you will have it on record so if you fall foul of the law in the future then the caution… Read more »

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
17 days ago

Excellent point, I think that all groups that support independence, that might be organising demonstrations in the near future, should make participants aware of their legal rites, always handy to know in “those” situations

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
16 days ago

Well said! Never accept a caution – it is an admission of guilt, and will also show up in dbs checks and possibly affect your employment! It just make’s the plods job easier, as it saves them the trouble of presenting actual evidence of someones alleged guilt in a court. And if its not very compelling ‘evidence’ the CPS will not waste their time bothering even to take the matter to court (as they know they would have very little hope of a conviction).

Last edited 16 days ago by Leigh Richards
Arwyn
Arwyn
17 days ago

I suppose if Welsh Labour were to propose independence, by virtue of their historically long standing Unionism they would have to hold a referendum. However, Plaid Cymru ought to put in the manifesto that should the party achieve >50% of the electorate or >60% of the popular vote they will UDI and open negotiations wrt to the timescale. We should learn lessons from Scotland. We shouldn’t faff about with Westminster and put out the begging bowl for democracy. Force it on Westminster. If the people of Wales want a Welsh Nation State then Plaid have to give them the means… Read more »

Dixon David
Dixon David
17 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

UDI.

Forget the improbability of that level of electoral margin for a moment.

You do know the criteria the UN and EU have for joining and that they don’t recognise states that unilaterally ceded?

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
17 days ago
Reply to  Dixon David

Administrative process only. These can be, and are, waived as appropriate

Arwyn
Arwyn
17 days ago
Reply to  Dixon David

No, let’s not forget it because currently polling puts support for independence at around 25% wheras it was less than 5% thirty years ago. Should Plaid Cymru achieve this theoretical outcome they would posses the democratic mandate to establish a Welsh Nation State. If Westminster were to then refuse our mandate I would advocate a course of mass peaceful civil disobedience and make Wales utterly ungovernable. We’ll get the legal niceties done one way or another. I don’t neccesarily expect a nice simple process. If we want our independence I expect we shall have to strive hard for it.

Dixon David
Dixon David
17 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

There is no mythical “wait until it is 100% independence figure”

Scotland does not have a polled majority for independence.

Figures are lower than after the last time they had a vote on it.

Ergo : not everybody wants it.

Arwyn
Arwyn
17 days ago
Reply to  Dixon David

I didn’t say there was. What’s your point? If we achieved the figures I stated there would be a democratic mandate to act. That simple.

Dixon David
Dixon David
17 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

My point is that there comes a point where most people have made their minds up and the true level of political will is evident.

Arguably this is the case in Scotland. The SNP can’t win a majority and polling rarely deviates from 2014 referendum levels

There is no other way for an independence party to negotiate a referendum without slowly clawing power in a devolved government.

A sudden “50% and we are off” is nothing anyone would vote for sight unseen for a party that doesn’t poll more votes than the Conservatives.

Again the UN and EU aren’t stupid.

Arwyn
Arwyn
17 days ago
Reply to  Dixon David

Of course it would be. How on earth does that contradict what I said. Your only point is that you think it an unlikely outcome. Matter of opinion as is my opening comment. As for Scotland, Wales did not come into the present State’s predecessor in the same way. Our route out is not necessarily the same. And here’s the nub. If a majority want Welsh independence and none out of Labour, Tories or Libs offer a democratic pathway to it then a Plaid Cymru that offers it at the ballot box will most certainly be in a position to… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Arwyn
SundanceKid
SundanceKid
16 days ago
Reply to  Dixon David

What do you mean, the SNP cannot win a majority? They ARE the majority in Scotland, in the Councils, in Holyrood and in terms of their Westminster representation in Scotland. You speak as if polling attitudes are set in stone, and never move. This is not the case. In 2010, support for Scottish independence was said to be in the region of 35% according to most polls. Yet, four years later, support for independence scored 45,% during the referendum. Significant political changes have occurred since then – leaving the European Union, Pandemic, Cost of living crisis. The UK Government and… Read more »

Last edited 16 days ago by SundanceKid
Dixon David
Dixon David
15 days ago
Reply to  SundanceKid

The SNP fell short of a majority in Hollyrood. Hence the co-operation with the Green Party.

Northern Ireland didn’t vote for a nationalist majority. The unionist vote was split.

The SNP isn’t a single issue party.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
17 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

The idea that somehow Plaid Cymru will be the majority party in the Senedd any time soon is sounds like an episode from fantasy Island.
The party is poorly led, badly organised and has been at best lukewarm on independence.
The Deputy First Minister (er.. sorry, the leader of Plaid Cymru) is very comfortable cuddled up to a unionist party in a unionist system, with such an arrangement why bother to win any elections?
And don’t forget. Plaid Cymru’s policy is and remains federation aka continued domination from Westminster.

Hell Glibson
Hell Glibson
17 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Arwyn
Arwyn
17 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

You’re wrong John. You keep repeating this line about federalism and it’s wrong. I’ve said this to you many times now – it’s a proposal for a Confederation of Nation States NOT a Federal UK. No matter how obtuse you wish to be, no matter how passionately you feel Plaid are not what you want them to be, it does not change what the policy is. You misrepresent it repeatedly.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
16 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

We could of course discuss semantics for ever.
I am not misrepresenting Plaid’s policy (which incidentally is based on a series of referenda), carefully read the case for a Confederation – the real levers of power remain at Westminster, whatever you call it.
And incidentally, you chose not to comment on Plaid’s continued weakness in leadership, organisation and indeed commitment to independence or the Deputy First Minister’s cuddling up to Labour.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
16 days ago

no popular mandate. march all you want but the populace does not support it.

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