Wales must boldly take the next steps on its constitutional journey, Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has insisted, adding that embracing further powers on policing, justice, broadcasting and welfare are key building blocks on a path towards a future independent Wales.

The Plaid Cymru Leader was speaking ahead of a keynote speech later today (January 31) where he will set out his party’s vision on the ‘journey to independence’.

The speech comes after the report by the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales outlined options for Wales’s constitutional future. It included independence for Wales as a viable option – a first for an official Welsh Government report.

Welcoming the Commission’s ‘ground breaking’ report, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS challenged Labour to follow Plaid’s call to implement its recommendations with urgency – including the devolution of powers over justice and railways, alongside a fairer funding settlement, and measures to strengthen and improve engagement with Welsh democracy.

The Plaid Cymru Leader will also call for the work of analysing options and preparing for constitutional change to continue, and for the right to decide on the constitutional future of Wales to be devolved.

And drawing on evidence submitted to the Constitutional Commission by Plaid Cymru, Mr ap Iorwerth will outline how and why independence represents not only a viable option for Wales constitutional future, but is the best and most sustainable such option.

Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth MS is expected to say: “The ability to build the fairer Wales that Plaid Cymru seeks goes hand in hand with constitutional change.

“The report by the Commission was groundbreaking. It recognised that the status-quo is unsustainable and critically showed that independence is a realistic and achievable end goal.

“It also shows that we are right to be ambitious for Wales, and that we should not constrain or put limits on that ambition. We in Plaid Cymru know that independence is not only viable, but that it is ultimately the best and most sustainable option for Wales’ future.

“I have long said that independence is a journey. It’s a journey whose destination is one I’ve always aspired to reach as early as we can, because I am convinced that that is when Wales can really begin to flourish, but we must travel it together as nation.

“We know that this is not as good as it gets for Wales. We know that sucessive Welsh Labour governments have lacked ambition, too often happy to settle for the status quo and rarely looking to use the levers they have at their disposal to grow our economy, tackle the scourge of child poverty or deliver a heath service that is fit for purpose.

“We will never stop making the case for more powers, nor for greater and better use of them.

“But our vision is far more ambitious than that. Every vote for Plaid Cymru in this year’s general election – whenever it comes – will be a vote to keep Westminster’s feet to the fire on fair funding for Wales, and to transfer further powers to Wales.

“Devolution of justice, broadcasting and welfare are all key building blocks of a future independent Welsh state.

“I am clear that Wales’ constitutional future is not the property of any one party, and the work of the Commission demonstrates the real value of coming together – across parties and beyond – as we explore it.

“I am absolutely clear that decisions about Wales’ constitutional destiny belong in Wales.

“The power to determine whether and when to hold a referendum on independence should not be contingent on Westminster’s whims. Seeing this power devolved to the Senedd remains an absolute priority for Plaid Cymru.

“I have no doubt that Wales’ best days are to come – that we have the skills, ingenuity and creativity to succeed as an independent nation, and that independence will give us the tools to deliver the kind of prosperity denied to us by our membership of the Union.

“I invite everyone to join us on the journey – to help us map out the kind of ambitious vision for the future our nation and our people deserve.”