Wales politics

Elfyn Llwyd MP urges 'parity with Scotland'

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Media captionThe party is hoping that the conference will provide a springboard to make gains in the election in Anglesey.

Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader has urged his party to "strive for parity" with Scotland, whatever the Scottish independence referendum outcome.

Elfyn Llwyd told Plaid's spring conference the "tectonic plates" of the UK union were "shifting".

Mr Llwyd said activists must work to ensure Wales has a "partnership of equals" in a "changing union".

His speech came on the second day of the event at Beaumaris, Anglesey.

He told delegates the "critical" referendum in Scotland in 2014 was likely to be a "game-changer" which would have a "profound impact on these islands".

"Our Scottish cousins have secured a critical referendum which will have a profound impact on these islands," Mr Llwyd said.

'Must communicate'

"Make no mistake, the tectonic plates under this beleaguered union are shifting.

"Whatever the result of the referendum, we in Plaid Cymru must be ready to adapt to circumstances and strive for parity with our Celtic neighbours, to ensure that ours is a partnership of equals in this changing union.

"We know that Plaid is the only party that can offer real leadership for Wales to combat the indecision, inaction and internal divisions which have characterised Labour's recent time in government.

"In the coming months and years, we must communicate that leadership to the voters," he added.

Accusing the Welsh government of being "tired and uninspired", Mr Llwyd also accused Labour in Westminster of failing in their duty to the people of Wales "by being too tied to their Westminster leaders".

"Labour MPs' criminal decision to vote for a reduction in the EU budget, which would cut structural funds and the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), as well as the betrayal by the majority of their members of the most vulnerable in abstaining on the welfare reform bill, serve to demonstrate whose priorities come first for the Labour party in Wales.

"It is not Carwyn Jones to whom they are answerable, but Mr Miliband and the tired New Labour clique who seem to control him," he added.

Opening the final day of the conference earlier, Plaid chair Helen Mary Jones said the party wanted to "bring the nation together" and reject rhetoric that "divides the rich and poor, that seeks to stigmatise the unemployed, that isolates those on benefits".

'Watchword for excellence'

"Let us not wait for 'them' to bring a factory to Wales and hope that jobs will be created - let us do it for ourselves," she said.

"Let us spend our money more wisely and support our businesses, to strengthen our economy and create the jobs we so desperately need.

"Unless we take it upon ourselves, no one else will deliver it for us," Ms Jones added.

On Friday party leader Leanne Wood warned delegates that Wales' education system has gone from being a "watchword for excellence" to the "graveyard of ambition".

She promised a "comprehensive" literacy and numeracy programme to improve standards if a Plaid Cymru Welsh government is elected at the next assembly election in 2016.

Ms Wood, who became Plaid's first female leader last year, is planning to stand down from her regional seat as an AM for South Wales Central at the next election in 2016 to stand in a constituency.

It means she will be giving up a relatively safe route back to Cardiff Bay in an attempt to help her party break new ground.

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