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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Leanne Wood bottles it

As internal party crises go the will they, won't they saga around Dafydd Elis Thomas' membership of the Plaid Cymru group had the potential to be pretty big.

Having decided to take action against the former Presiding Officer for absenting himself from a no confidence vote in the health minister and then being publicly ultra critical of Plaid's role in tabling that motion, Leanne Wood and her advisors set in train a series of events that may well have led to Dafydd Elis Thomas leaving the party altogether. There was even speculation that he would become a Minister in the Welsh Government, giving Labour their long-sought after majority.

However, it seems that the Plaid Cymru leader has met her match. It is possible that she did not think through the consequences of her actions in withdrawing the whip from her former leadership rival and setting up a disciplinary panel, but either way she clearly did not count on the level of support Dafydd managed to garner within the party for his simple proposition that Plaid Cymru should not be the poodles of the Tory Party.

Once Dafydd El's constituency party had backed him, Leanne really had only two possible courses of action, she could brazen it out and drive him out of the party or she could back down. She chose the latter course and in doing so undermined her own authority as leader.

There is no doubt in my view that Leanne has miscalculated badly. She has been out-thought and out-witted by one of the wiliest politicians in Wales. It is difficult then to take much of her statement as to the future behaviour of her group seriously. She says:

"In future therefore, if the Plaid Cymru group collectively chooses to support an issue and a campaign, I expect all members to unite behind that, unless they are willing to come to the group and explain and discuss why they are unable to do so. It is not and never will be acceptable that statements are made to the press before they are shared within the party team. The party has always valued its unity of purpose. The whip has never before been withdrawn from an elected member of Plaid Cymru. I do not expect, and will not accept, the party being placed in this position again.

"I also expect all Plaid Cymru elected representatives always to put their roles and responsibilities in that capacity first and foremost above all other interests and duties. Their constituents and the members of Plaid Cymru expect no less.

"So this is how we are going to operate – out of courtesy to each other and out of respect to those who elected us.

Her failure to act this time is an invitation to others to defy her again. After all who can believe she is serious about enforcing these rules when she has bottled it once?  The Plaid leadership has shown itself to be weak and not in control of the party. The Welsh Labour Government must be laughing all the way to the recess.
.... And you would have done what?
Not convened the disciplinary panel in the first place so as to avoid the cul de sac she backed herself into.
time you lot started behaving like politicians that we could be proud of. the whole thing of devolution is in repute at present. As someone who votes Libdem (at present) and voted yes in both referenda, its an embarrassment of major standards. carwyn referring to 'he' 'her'like he's in westminster. The ridiculous Yaaa boo ing of the Conservatives and Leanne's almost embarrassing absence. at least Kirsty has a good go. It's not really very inspiring is it?
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