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Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says her party must now campaign for Welsh independence

Leanne Wood made her call for independence in an interview for tonight's Wales at Six Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says her party must now campaign for Welsh independence, rather than be part of a UK outside the European Union. In an exclusive interview with ITV Cymru Wales Political Editor Adrian Masters, she's revealed that she's calling a special party conference to prioritise a campaign for Welsh independence.

Even though this situation was not of our making, Plaid Cymru believes that redesigning the current UK is the only option. A new union of independent nations working together for the common good.

This is a huge challenge that we face. All of us, whether we voted in or out should be prepared to be bold and confident in being able to forge a new, strong, inclusive, outward-looking future for our nation.

– Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood AM

Until now, Plaid has only regarded an independent Wales as a long term aim but Leanne Wood argues that the vote to leave the European Union has "changed everything". She argues that as Scotland and Northern Ireland could leave the UK, Wales must not become what she calls "a forgotten part of a right wing England and Wales".

Opinion polls have rarely shown support for independence above 10% and Leanne Wood acknowledges that she's setting her party a huge task. She also claims that as an independent nation, the Welsh people would want to be part of the EU, although there was a majority in Wales for UK withdrawal.

  • You can see Leanne Wood's interview with Adrian Masters on Wales at Six at 6pm on ITV Cymru Wales.

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  1. Nick Powell

Carwyn Jones announces plans for smacking ban after slap-down for UKIP

Carwyn Jones' nomination as First Minister was briefly delayed while the Presiding Officer heard objections from the UKIP AM Mark Reckless. He argued that Plaid Cymru should not be allowed to withdraw the name of its leader, Leanne Wood, without a further vote. But Elin Jones ruled against him.

Carwyn Jones said there would be no new legislation in the next hundred days, whilst the Assembly develops new procedures in line with the Labour-Plaid Cymru agreement. However he said there would in due course be a new law put forward to ban parents from hitting their children. It would abolish the defence of "reasonable chastisement". Carwyn Jones also said there would be a new Public Health Bill, replacing the one that was defeated at the end of the last Assembly. He did not say if it would include a fresh attempt to restrict the use of e-cigarettes.

Wales does not want for ambition. Wales does not want for brilliance. And if the last few days are anything to go by, Wales does not want for excitement either. It is our job, collectively, to make real that ambition. To turn that brilliance into sustainable success and growing prosperity for all. And where we have excitement, let’s make sure it comes with results. We have given the media, the Welsh historians, and the commentariat plenty of what they want – theatre and intrigue. It is time now to give the Welsh people what they want, and expect. Good governance, delivery and respect.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Plaid Cymru: Why we were right to block Carwyn Jones

The Plaid Cymru Group in the Assembly has set out its reasons for Leanne Wood challenging Carwyn Jones' nomination as First Minister,

On May 5th, Wales chose not to elect one single party to govern Wales with a majority. As is the convention, the biggest party were given an opportunity to reach an agreement on forming a government which could lead Wales with the support of the majority of members in the National Assembly. They took the decision not to pursue that option, and were not prepared to give the process of negotiation any further time. As a result, the Plaid Cymru group followed normal Parliamentary protocol and nominated Leanne Wood for First Minister. Carwyn Jones was informed of this decision yesterday. Since that time, and as far as Plaid Cymru is aware, there have been no formal discussions, agreements or deals pursued between any party. This afternoon, the Assembly failed to reach agreement on who should become First Minister and form the next government. It is now for the parties to discuss this matter further in order to seek the best outcome for Wales.

– Plaid Cymru Group Spokesperson

Plaid Cymru say more help needed for 'thousands' of steel workers facing potential redundancies

Leanne Wood says Welsh Government could do more Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

The Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said the Welsh Government should do more on the steel crisis.

Her comments came, following reports that hundreds of jobs could go at TATA Steel in Wales.

“The Welsh Government has the ability to take action, but is choosing not to. This will be of no comfort to the thousands of steel workers across Wales who are facing potential redundancy when Tata makes its announcement later this week.

– Leanne Wood AM, Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru wants to see the Welsh Government:

  • Establish a taskforce to look at protecting jobs
  • Temporarily nationalise parts of the industry to protect workers

The Welsh Government say they have worked consistently hard for the steel industry:

No one has worked harder for the steel industry in Wales than the Welsh Government. We have consistently championed Welsh steel makers and lobbied the UK Government and the EC on their behalf. It is well known that Tata, like the rest of the steel industry, has been facing extremely challenging operating conditions, but we cannot comment further at this time on what is unconfirmed speculation and rumour.”

– Welsh Government spokesperson

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  1. Nick Powell

Welsh Labour deserve to lose despite Corbyn says Wood

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has told her party's conference that Wales needs a change of government, replacing what she called a "tired, incompetent, Labour regime". She told delegates in Aberystwyth that Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader had changed nothing about the Welsh Government.

The Labour leadership may have changed. But one thing doesn’t change. And that is the undeniable need for a change of government in Wales. Be under no illusion – a change at the top in Westminster does not undo Labour’s poor record here.

The UK Labour leader will, we are told, be coming to campaign against the Party of Wales despite voting with us more often than his own party in Parliament.

Remember, he’ll be calling on people here to back a Welsh Labour Government, who not only defended Trident nuclear weapons but called for their relocation to Wales.

– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM

Plaid claim they can form a government on their own after the Welsh election next May, though they admit they probably can't achieve an overall majority in the Senedd. No party has ever managed that. The same was true in Scotland until the SNP went from minority government to total domination of Scottish politics. The SNP's leader, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was in Aberystwyth to urge Plaid Cymru to follow her party's example.

If the SNP can win in Scotland, there is no reason - none at all - that Plaid Cymru can't also win in Wales. Not at some distant point in the future. But now, next May, at this election.

You can win. Believe it. Work for it. And you will do it. And when Wales does turn from Labour to a party with ambition, vision and determination, people will realise just how different things can be.

– Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Tonight Labour hit back on the issue where Plaid Cymru think the Welsh Government is most vulnerable -the running of the NHS. Labour claim that Plaid has no idea how much its proposed reorganisation of the health service will cost -or any rate won’t tell the people of Wales.

  1. Nick Powell

Sturgeon to rally Plaid troops for Assembly election

Leanne Wood recently addressed the SNP Conference for the second year running. This time, Nicola Sturgeon is returning the favour. Credit: PA

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has given herself two hard a acts to follow at Plaid Cymru's conference. By the time she gets to her feet this afternoon, delegates will have already heard from Mark Serwotka, the leader of the PCS union, who's from Aberdare.

But top of the bill is the nationalists' heroine, the First Minister of Scotland Nicolas Sturgeon. The SNP leader, who looks set to increase her government's majority in next year's Scottish election, is making the trip to Aberystwyth this year.

Exchanges of speakers between the two parties are routine enough but it's become noticeable that although Leanne Wood has been happy enough to trek north, the SNP have generally left it to one of their more minor figures to return the compliment.

It's a sign of the close friendship between the two women, cemented when they both took part in the UK election debates earlier in the year. The kudos that Nicola Sturgeon gives to the conference outweighs any fears that Leanne Wood will be upstaged at her own party conference. The view at the top of Plaid Cymru is that they're resigned to constant comparisons between themselves and the SNP, so they might as well make the most of it.

Sure enough, any doubt that the Plaid can double its number of AMs and displace Labour as the biggest party in the Assembly is answered by pointing to the SNP's breakthrough in 2007, when it overtook Labour in the Scottish Parliament. It formed a minority government and went on to secure an overall majority four years later.

Plaid Cymru has identified the Welsh NHS as the key issue on which it will take on Labour.

Our Welsh NHS is being failed by Labour. We have fewer doctors per head than most countries in Europe, with Scotland having almost 50% more GPs than we do.

New drugs and treatments are often not available to patients simply because of the area they live in. We have the longest waiting times in Britain for people to be given tests that are crucial in diagnosing cancer.

We have the longest waiting times in Britain for people to start treatment, sometimes even when that treatment is lifesaving surgery.

The NHS can no longer be trusted in Labour’s hands. It can be trusted in Plaid Cymru’s."

– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM

Plaid Cymru is promising to spend on the Welsh NHS all extra money that comes to Wales as a result of in creased health spending in England. The party has ambitious plans to train a thousand extra doctors, set up specialist diagnostic centres for people suspected of having cancer and set up a new fund to pay for new medicines and treatments.

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