Wales politics

Welsh independence rising up political agenda, says FM

Thousands of people packed into the Maes - Castle Square - for the independence rally in Caernarfon, Gwynedd.
Image caption Thousands marched for independence in Caernarfon last Saturday

The debate around Welsh independence has risen up the political agenda, the first minister has said.

Mark Drakeford said "just singing 'Rule Britannia' and waving the Union Jack" would not be enough to preserve the United Kingdom.

He met new prime minister Boris Johnson in the assembly on Tuesday at the end of the PM's first visit to Wales.

Mr Drakeford said he raised concerns about the future of the UK at the meeting.

Thousands of people marched through Caernarfon last Saturday for a rally backing Welsh independence.

Speaking to BBC Radio Cymru's Post Cyntaf programme, Mr Drakeford said: "I think independence has risen up the public agenda and people are thinking about independence. I told him that.

"And, of course, he came down from Scotland where independence is at the top of the agenda and I told him there is more interest, there is more discussion about independence.

"Of course, people who support independence in Wales, it's up to them to explain to people how that is going to work and to answer many serious questions.

"And for people like me who want to see a strong devolved Wales but also a future for Wales in a successful UK, that's the case we'll have to explain to people."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Boris Johnson visited a chicken farm in St Brides Wentlooge, near Newport, on Tuesday

On Tuesday Mr Johnson said it is "up to the EU, this is their call" if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

In a news conference following the meeting, Mr Drakeford said there was a "deeply concerning lack of detail" about the Brexit process from the new prime minister.

Speaking on BBC Radio Cymru's Post Cyntaf programme on Wednesday morning, the first minister said he also raised concerns about the future of the UK in the meeting.

"I had to raise the topic because of the situation in Scotland, the situation in Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland," the first minister said.

"Things in the UK have changed and Brexit has created more debate about the future of the UK."

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