Election 2017

Election not about independence for Wales, Plaid Cymru AM says

Rhun ap Iorwerth
Image caption Rhun ap Iorwerth claimed that giving Wales more powers could help hold the UK together

Wales could survive as an independent state, a Plaid Cymru assembly member has claimed, while working closely with the other UK nations.

Rhun ap Iorwerth told listeners to a BBC Radio Wales election phone-in that his party would fight for access to the EU single market after Brexit.

"This election isn't about independence," he said.

"For the time being ... let's defend Wales from the threats coming our way."

Mr ap Iorwerth was taking calls on the Jason Mohammad programme on Tuesday, while Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood launched the party's manifesto in Rhondda.

He said the party accepted the referendum vote for the UK to leave the European Union, but added: "We can leave in different ways."

The AM said Plaid wanted the "best possible Brexit" for Welsh business and industry, including single market access, and continued opportunities of links with Europe for the nation's children.

'Chip in'

On the question of devolution, Mr ap Iorwerth claimed more powers for Wales could help hold the UK together.

"I think Britain could be stronger as a collection of countries that make their own decisions but chip in together with a common project because there's so much that joins us together in these islands," he said.

"This election isn't about independence, this election it about us putting ideas on the table about making Wales more prosperous and standing up to the threats that we have in front of us," he added.

Labour was "weak and divided", Mr ap Iorwerth claimed, in the face of "potentially a Tory government with a huge majority in Westminster for the next few years".

Asked about the success of the SNP in Scotland, he rejected the idea that Plaid Cymru had failed by comparison.

The SNP had shown they could govern "really, really well" when they first took power as a minority administration in 2007, the AM said.

"When you have that opportunity to show people what you're made of, and to show that it's not all talk, that you can walk the walk as well, then you can win people's trust.

"That's what I and Plaid Cymru are waiting for - that opportunity to show people that we can be trusted."

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