BLAENAVON Town Council has voted to support the Welsh independence movement.

A joint Plaid Cymru and Labour motion at a council meeting last week was passed by five votes to four, with two councillors abstaining.

The council is Labour led, with nine Welsh Labour representative, one Plaid Cymru and one independent councillor. So the vote is a significant one, especially with Welsh Labour’s official position being in support of the union.


Labour's Cllr Gareth Davies, who jointly proposed the motion with Plaid Cymru's Cllr Gareth McCann, said: “The motion was a reaction to the growing movement in the area towards an independent Wales.

“The movement is a much more positive movement than it was. If it was as anti-English as it used to be, I wouldn’t be supporting it.

“We are being really badly served by Westminster at the moment. It’s difficult to see a time in the last 10 years when we have been served well by the government.

“We are an energy-rich and resource-rich nation. The old arguments that we can’t manage on our own don’t apply any more.

“It’s about being seen as a viable country in our own right.

“It is seeing people outside the traditional Welsh nationalist areas come on board with the movement. We are 14 miles from the English border and I think we are one of the most eastern councils to support the movement. That is quite symbolic.

“It was hardly unanimous, but I think we are one of the first Labour-controlled areas to support the movement. I had support from a group called Labour for an Independent Wales.”

Cllr McCann said the issue of poverty in Wales, especially in the Valleys, was one of the main reasons why he and Cllr Davies decided to put the motion to the council.

“We’ve been talking about it for a while now but we both decided it was the right time,” he said. “A number of town councils in Wales, mostly in north Wales but also in Caerphilly, are supporting the movement, and there are a number of Yes Cymru groups that have been established in Gwent.

“Poverty is a real problem in Wales, especially In the Valleys. I went down to Newport this morning and there is a real homelessness issue there.

“It’s crazy that Wales is one of the most impoverished areas in Europe but then areas in the south of England are some of the wealthiest.

“There are a number of projects, like the Swansea lagoon and the electrification of the main line between Swansea and Cardiff, are being ignored by the government.

"With that, and with the Brexit vote, I just think Wales would be better off independent.”