Councillors clash over Welsh language ‘forced upon every nook and cranny of Wales’ comments

Elwyn Vaughan of Plaid Cymru (left) and Amanda Jenner of the Conservatives (right).

A Conservative councillor and former parliamentary candidate has been criticised for her comments about the Welsh language during an online council meeting.

Councillor Amanda Jenner, who was the Conservatives’ Ceredigion candidate at last year’s election, had written an article for the Conservative Home website which complained about ‘forcing’ the Welsh language on areas where the language has not been spoken historically.

Part of her article read:  “I don’t want to see the Welsh language forced upon every nook and cranny of Wales, including upon those communities whose traditions and cultures may not have the Welsh Language embedded in them.”

According to Powys’ Local Democracy Reporter, Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Elwyn Vaughan said: “Powys has moved forward tremendously in this field in the last couple of years.

“I welcome the comments that it’s relevant to all the communities of Powys, because contrary to what one leading Powys councillor said this week, the Wesh language is embedded in all our communities and is therefore relevant to us all.”

Powys County Council had been criticised by Welsh language commissioner Aled Roberts in the Welsh Annual Standards report.

 

‘Failings’

Cllr Jenner (Trewern), who is learning Welsh, responded to the Plaid councillor by saying: “Cllr Elwyn is incorrectly implying that I was solely referring to Powys in my article.

“I was commenting on the whole of Wales whereas we all know there are some parts that do not have the Welsh language embedded, I wanted to clarify that.”

Earlier, the portfolio holder for the Welsh language, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, said: “I do acknowledge the failings and where we must do more.

“The Welsh language is a treasure to be shared with all of the communities in Powys and we’d like to help all of our residents and staff to appreciate and enjoy the Welsh language.

“I hope we will continue to regard the Welsh language within PCC not as an add on or tick box we have to complete, but an aspiration to strengthen and develop it.”

The report was approved by 63 votes with no votes against or abstentions.

Powys County Council is required to comply with the Welsh Language Standards, introduced under the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.

This gave the language an equal legal status with English and is aimed at making it easier for people to use Welsh in their day to day lives.

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