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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Has Dafydd Elis Thomas given Labour their majority in the Welsh Assembly?

The timing of the decision by Lord Elis Thomas to resign the Plaid Cymru whip and sit as an independent in the Welsh Assembly came as a surprise to me, but I suspect it was a body blow to Plaid Cymru and Leanne Wood's stuttering leadership.

Plaid Cymru can no longer claim to be the official opposition. Their negotiating power over the Welsh budget in particular has been severely diminsihed. Carwyn Jones now has another option to get his budget through and it will be much cheaper than meeting demands from Leanne Wood's party, assuming that Plaid are able to agree a coherent package of expenditure amongst themselves at all.

In truth Dadydd Elis Thomas has been acting as an Independent for some time. An examination of voting records reveal that he often, discreetly registers a different view to that of his leadership, including on that vote over Europe which led to a nationalist social media campaign claiming the Welsh Government are now in favour of Brexit. In fact it showed nothing of the sort.

There are now two independents sitting in the Welsh Assembly, both former leaders of their party. And whereas I cannot see Labour even contemplating the courtship of Nathan Gill, they will certainly be talking to Dafydd Elis Thomas. Will we see him in the cabinet in the near future? Anything is now possible.

Update: Plaid Cymru also lost a councillor this week when Torfaen Councillor Fiona Cross crossed the floor to join Labour.
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