No deal could push Wales towards independence, says new leader

Beyond England Daily news News

Wales could move towards independence from the UK if it crashes out of the EU without a deal, the new leader of nationalist party Plaid Cymru has warned.

Adam Price, who replaced Leanne Wood, told The Guardian last week that no deal would spell economic disaster for the Welsh.

He described a hard Brexit as a “cataclysm that is heading our way” and backed calls for a People’s Vote with the option to remain on the ballot paper.

Mr Price, the Welsh Assembly member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, said any economic crisis as a result of no deal would increase support for independence.

He said: “If we are able to get a people’s vote we should take that opportunity and ‘remain’ should be on the ballot.

Mr Price predicted that without an exit deal the Welsh economy could “unravel on a 1930s scale” with agriculture and manufacturing hit the hardest, including steel towns such as Port Talbot.

The 50-year-old miner’s son praised his predecessor Ms Wood – the party’s first female leader – and promised to be “open and inclusive”.

He is the first openly gay leader of his party and pledged: “No one will be left behind. There will be no second-class travellers on our journey to a confident, prosperous and independent Wales.”

Price was the Westminster MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr for almost ten years and returned to politics in 2016 after a spell at Harvard in the United States.

He beat Rhun ap Iorwerth in the leadership election with former leader Leanne Wood finishing third and last after leading Plaid Cymru for six years.

Mr Price won 49.7 per cent of the votes (2,863), Rhun ap Iorwerth took 28 per cent (1,613) and Leanne Wood secured 22.3 per cent (1,286).

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