Today, the Queen, 95, visited Wales with Prince Charles, 72, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, 74. The monarch officially opened the sixth term of the Senedd – the Welsh Parliament – in Cardiff. Her Majesty was greeted by Presiding Officer Elin Jones and Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford. Her visit marked the ceremonial launch of this term of parliament since Mr Drakeford – who is against Welsh independence – was re-elected at the Senedd election in May.
His Welsh Labour party took half of the 60 seats in the vote, matching its best-ever election result, although fell one short of a majority.
The nationalist Plaid Cymru party took 13 seats after campaigning on a pledge to hold a Welsh independence referendum in the next five years.
Express.co.uk discussed Wales’s potential exit from the UK with Plaid’s Rhys ab Owen, who declared: “Independence is the natural state of countries.”
The Senedd member for South Wales Central was quick to acknowledge some of the public’s concerns about the possible economic damage that could be inflicted on Wales through independence.
He said: “Of course, with any move like that, people are going to be worried, they are going to be worried about their pensions.
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“People are going to be worried about their children.”
However, the politician was bullish about the potential for Welsh prosperity in the event it seceded from the rest of the UK.
He added: “We have fantastic natural resources in Wales, we are one of the largest exporters of water in the world.
“I am convinced if we had the powers, we would be able to make it work, like every other country has.
“If you compare Wales to other countries in the world, we aren’t there with the poorer countries at all, we aren’t there with the smallest countries at all.
The Welsh Election Study 2021 in June analysed data from the 28 percent of voters who said they would back independence in a referendum.
Of the sample, 45.8 percent voted for Plaid Cymru, and 41.7 percent voted for Welsh Labour.
Mr Owen said the show of support for an independent Wales was important for his party’s future chances of holding a public vote.
However, Plaid Cymru, he argued, will need to make the case that Wales’ economy could thrive without the nation being part of the UK.
He said: “The economic argument is one we need to make strongly, I’m a great believer in the old saying: ‘There’s never lived a nation which ruled another well’.
“So, another nation doesn’t rule another one well. Wales would be better independent.
“If you think about all the countries in the world that have become independent over the last half century or so, not one has asked to go back, not one has asked to re-join the British Empire or the French Empire or any other large empire.”