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Monday, July 08, 2019

Plaid Cymru's internal feud gets out of hand

Labour and the Tories are not the only political parties struggling with internal divisions, Plaid Cymru, the self-proclaimed Party of Wales, are also in a bit of turmoil at the moment. Plaid's issues revolve around the fate of one of their Assembly Members, Neil McEvoy.

McEvoy is currently suspended from the party for a whole host of reasons, and estranged from a number of members of the Assembly's Plaid Cymru group, who expelled him. He is now seeking readmission as a member of Plaid, in the hope that he can unseat the First Minister in the Cardiff West constituency at the 2021 elections.

However, according to the Western Mail, some members are seeking to derail this process. The paper says that complaints have been received that McEvoy damaged the party’s reputation by criticising the non-custodial sentence handed to a senior Plaid politician who possessed extreme child pornography:

Simon Thomas, who resigned as a regional AM for Mid and West Wales after being arrested in July 2018, received a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years when he pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children.

Police found more than 600 indecent pictures and videos on an iPad and a mobile phone when they raided Thomas’ home – 150 in the highest category of illegal images.

Responding to what he saw as the lenient nature of the sentence Mr McEvoy tweeted: “This sentence is all wrong. How is this protecting children? How can you avoid jail when you’ve bought and made images and videos of extreme child abuse? This has to be reviewed. Where’s the justice for his victims?”

The rational response to this attempt to undermine McEvoy's appeal is to ask why it is that the complainant did not consider that Simon Thomas had brought the party into disrepute? McEvoy's tweeted incomprehension at the leniency of the sentence was a perfectly natural response. If anything it did him credit.

Longstanding Plaid Cymru member, Dewi Evans questions why Plaid Cymru didn’t take the opportunity to speak out about child pornography, and I think it is a fair question. Whatever, the reasons though, this latest complaint does have an air of desperation about it.
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