Wales politics

Independence: Mark Drakeford rejects Plaid Cymru claim he's 'indy-curious'

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The first minister has repeatedly pledged his commitment to the United Kingdom in the Senedd after Plaid Cymru seized on comments saying his support was not "unconditional".

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price suggested Mark Drakeford was "indy-curious" on Tuesday.

But Mr Drakeford said he did not think Welsh voters would support independence.

He told AMs that his support for the union was "unambiguous".

It comes after former first minister Carwyn Jones said the "shambles" in Westminster politics was driving interest in Welsh independence.

In an assembly committee on Monday, Mr Drakeford said: "If you believe the UK is a voluntary association of four nations you have to face the possibility that some component parts of the United Kingdom may no longer choose to be part of it.

"If that were to be the case in future then, of course, any sensible political party or government would have to reassess Wales' place in the components that were there in the future.

"So in that sense it can't possibly be unconditional because there are other moving parts here of which we are not in control."

Plaid Cymru said the comments hinted at potential support in the future for Welsh independence - but that was strongly denied by the first minister.

Image caption Mark Drakeford said neither he, nor the people of Wales, wanted independence

In First Minister's Questions, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: "After your comments last week berating colonialism and your statement yesterday that your support for the union was not unconditional, are you now officially indy-curious?"

The term has been used as a hashtag on Twitter by pro-Independence groups and others to describe people who are open to the discussion of independence, even if they are not supporting it.

Mr Drakeford told him: "Plaid Cymru stand unambiguously for independence... an ambition and a determination to take Wales out of the United Kingdom. Everything they do, and everything they say, is seen through that lens."

"I'm very happy that that is the case, because I do not think for a moment that the people of Wales are in that position - and I certainly am not."

Summarising his answer, Mr Price retorted: "We are unambiguously in favour of independence, you are ambiguously in favour of it."

"How would you summarise what I said in that way, how would you do that? Try again," Mr Drakeford heckled back.

In his reply to the Plaid Cymru leader, Mr Drakeford said: "Welsh Labour is in favour of Wales remaining in the United Kingdom, there is no ambiguity about that."

He later made the same point again. "The Labour Party in Wales unambiguously believes that the future of Wales is best secured through continued membership of the United Kingdom."

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