Wales politics

Plaid Cymru's Nerys Evans wants new strategy for Welsh independence

Nerys Evans
Image caption Plaid Cymru's policy director Nerys Evans says voters knew very little about independence

Plaid Cymru needs a new strategy to explain its vision of Welsh independence, according to the party's policy director.

Former AM Nerys Evans said Plaid had "played the game" as part of last year's referendum on boosting the Welsh assembly's power.

"Now it's time for a new game and a new strategy under a new leader," she told the Plaid conference.

Ms Evans was an AM between 2007 and 2011.

Plaid committed to achieving independence for Wales last year and new leader Leanne Wood ran under a slogan of "real independence".

'Wake up'

In a speech to delegates, Ms Evans acknowledged that Welsh independence was not popular with voters.

It consistently gets support of about 10% in opinion polls. In a BBC Wales this month, it was backed by 7%, rising to 12% if Scotland leaves the UK.

But she suggested the low levels of support were due to Plaid's failure to explain the concept.

"We can't really expect them to be fully signed up and be supporters of something they know very little about," she said.

"People need to know what freedom might mean and what it would look like. We have never properly explained that."

She added: "Nobody has explained to our fellow countrymen and fellow countrywomen what life could look like. We have not done that work."

With voters in Scotland being offered a referendum on leaving the UK, she said Plaid "must be part of the debate".

She accused supporters of the Union of lacking a coherent argument against Scottish independence.

"People are slowly waking up to the fact that we could be in the last two years of the existence of the United Kingdom," she said.

Also on Friday, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan warned Conservatives not to "underestimate" the SNP ahead of the referendum on Scottish independence.

Speaking at the Scottish Tory conference in Troon, Mrs Gillan said: "It's not independence that's right for Scotland or for Wales. It's the inter-dependence of the four nations."

More on this story