Beyond 2020: Will Wales hold a referendum on independence?

Who in 2010 would have predicted that a decade later we would have held a referendum and left the European Union?

Some hope the same could happen to Welsh independence in the next decade.

Benji and Matthew are members of Welsh Football Fans for Independence Credit: ITV Wales

Benji and Matthew were brought together by the love of two things: football and independence.

The friends are part of the grassroots movement - Welsh Football Fans for Independence. They go to club and international games trying to convert supporters to the cause.

Benji has supported independence since he was a schoolboy.

"The more people see flags, leaflets and people wearing independence hats it just becomes more normal then and I think quite a higher percentage of football fans support independence than the general public."

Matthew is a more recent convert, convinced Wales could go it alone after visiting small independent nations like Iceland.

He is a Labour party member from Blackwood, but would like some leadership from his party over the independence question.

"I'm still not sure what the Welsh Labour view of independence is because nobody has had the conversation about it", Matthew said.

Matthew wants clarity from the Welsh Labour Party on independence Credit: ITV Wales

Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru, a party which openly backs Welsh independence, has previously stated that a referendum would be held before 2030.

While Welsh Labour leader and First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that any part of the UK which wants to test opinion in a referendum, should be allowed to do so, providing it has the support of the local population.

"We're in nowhere near that position in Wales" he told a press conference in January.

However his predecessor Carwyn Jones told ITV Wales that a referendum in this decade was "possible" but said he didn't support it.

Both men acknowledge they are in the minority. The latest ITV Wales/Cardiff University poll shows 21% of people would back independence if a referendum were held tomorrow.

Read: Latest poll data on support for Welsh independence

Cardiff University's Professor Roger Awan-Scully said the latest poll shows there's been a small rise in support for independence, and for people wanting to abolish the Welsh Assembly, but most people in Wales favour keeping things as they currently are.

Carwyn Jones calls for constitutional change to keep the UK together Credit: ITV Wales

2019 saw three big marches in support of an independent Wales held in Cardiff, Caernarfon and Merthyr. More are coming in 2020.

Organisers Yes Cymru aim to raise awareness of the movement, but beyond support, there is little discussion on how an independent Wales state would look in some important areas.

YouGov asked people for their thoughts in three key areas: head of state, currency and NATO membership. In all questions, the status quo was the most popular option.

  • Head of state

Most people favoured keeping the Queen.

Most people wanted to keep the Queen with an elected president the next popular choice.
  • Currency

Keeping the pound as the main currency was the most popular option - with just 12% favouring a Welsh currency.

68% wanted to keep the pound
  • NATO Membership

Plaid Cymru's leader Adam Price has said in the past he would not want an independent Wales to be a member of NATO.

The poll suggests the people of Wales would want membership of the organisation.

Almost two thirds of people in the poll wanted to an independent Wales to be in NATO

As for Benji and Matthew, they are still pursuing their dream.

Benji thinks Wales will be independent by 2030, Matthew less so, but both men believe the destination for Wales is independence, regardless of how long the road ahead is.

Andrew 'Benji' Benjamin talking to football fans about independence at a game in Ammanford Credit: ITV Wales

You can watch the Sharp End debate between Labour's Carwyn Jones, The Conservative's Andrew RT Davies and Plaid Cymru's Delyth Jewell below.