INDEPENDENCE is “inevitable” and has earned its place at the heart of Wales’s national conversation, the leader of Plaid Cymru has said.

In a defiant speech to the party’s Spring Conference, Rhun Ap Iorwerth said the “landmark” ruling of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales had ensured Welsh independence was no longer “muttered around the margins” but said “with purpose and conviction”.

He used his address to insist Wales should be given levers to build a “powerhouse parliament” and not continue to put up with “piecemeal devolution”.

The commission concluded in a major report in January that independence was a viable option for Wales and the current devolution settlement was “not sustainable”.

Referencing former Labour prime minister Tony Blair’s assertion devolution was a “dangerous game" to play, Ap Iorwerth told the conference: “Their [Labour’s] mantra – let devolution work for the Labour Party, perhaps for the Union, but not really for the people of Wales.

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“Devolution is only a dangerous game for those who refuse to accept not only the viable but the inevitable, that Wales like the vast majority of nations around the world can and will, one day, decide her own future. Independence is viable.

“Not just in our view in Plaid Cymru, but the recent view of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales.

“Words like landmark and historic are perhaps overused but they really are words that reflect the significance of the Williams-McAllister commission’s report that rightly warns of the unsustainable nature of the status quo and affirms that independence has earned its place at the heart of Wales’s national conversation.

“Not muttered around the margins, but said with purpose and conviction. Wales can.

“The report reflects on the challenges independence would bring. Of course, let’s face them together, but we will ask Wales to balance the risks of independence with the reality of our current place in the UK. A stagnant economy, entrenched poverty. We can be better than this.”

The SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn also addressed the conference in a fraternal speech saying his party and others must “break up the cosy Westminster consensus”.

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He added: “The day is coming ever closer when Wales will elect a Plaid Cymru first minister.”

Flynn took aim at Labour leader Keir Starmer during his speech.

He said: “It is becoming ever clearer that the ambitions of Sir Keir Starmer are not just the return of new Labour, he is now an active fanboy for new Thatcherism.

“Not for the first time, Labour’s leadership has abandoned progressive politics in the pursuit of power.

“It is therefore up to us – the SNP, Plaid Cymru and others – to offer an alternative.”