Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Dafydd Elis-Thomas rejoins Plaid Cymru

19 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Dafydd Elis-Thomas. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

Former Plaid Cymru leader Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas says he has rejoined the party seven years after controversially leaving it.

He was the then National Assembly’s Presiding Officer during its first three terms, from 1999 until 2011, and after leaving Plaid Cymru he sat as an Independent, serving for four years as Deputy Culture Minister between 2017 and 2021. He then stood down from the Senedd.

In an interview with ITV Wales screened on S4C’s news programme Newyddion, Lord Elis-Thomas said he regarded rejoining Plaid as his “homecoming”. He praised the party’s “different direction” under its new leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth.

After leaving Plaid in 2016, he accused Plaid under its then leader Leanne Wood of being unwilling to play a serious role in government.

Bur he made it clear in his S4C interview that such doubts have been dispelled

He said: “I have been so impressed by the new leadership of Rhun ap Iorwerth. I think highly of him, and I think his current attitude gives Plaid Cymru a new opportunity to develop wider support and I want to support that.”

The peer said he was “keen to show willingness” to support the Iorwerth leadership, adding that a leader who is “more open to gaining support across the political spectrum… is important to the development of the party in the coming years”.

Lord Elis-Thomas has been widely credited with helping to move the devolution agenda forward in the then National Assembly’s early years.

Merioneth

First elected as a Plaid Cymru MP in 1974 for the then seat of Merioneth, he remained in the House of Commons until 1992, serving as party leader between 1984 and 1989.

After stepping down from the Commons he was made a life peer, sitting as a crossbencher.

Later he chaired the Welsh Language Board.

He returned to elected politics in 1999, being elected as an Assembly Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy and then Dwyfor Meirionnydd.

He had a troubled relationship with Leanne Wood when she was party leader, publicly criticising her on several occasions.

After leaving Plaid, he faced calls to resign his seat and force a by-election, but refused to do so. At the time Rhun ap Iorwerth told BBC Wales at the time that Elis-Thomas had “disappointed a great many” voters.

In his latest S4C interview, Lord Elis-Thomas said he had left Plaid because “I thought it was very important that the centre-left parties always work together to protect the institution from those who were trying to undermine it.

“In the party… there was a period where there was an emphasis on the correctness of a kind of nationalism that we considered a bit old fashioned, but now the party and Plaid Cymru’s approach sounds to me much more open.”

He acknowledged that some people would not welcome him back: “Some people have always been unhappy with some of the things I have said. But because I’m not chasing anything at my age [76] this is my homecoming.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
18 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Richard
Richard
8 months ago

There is no doubt that DET can be charming, a perfect host and when he has a mind to it very perceptive and thoughtful. His contribution to Wales while not in the same league as Gwynfor or Dafydd Wigley has all the same been considerable in moving Wales forward in nationhood. That said – his historic flip flopping and well documented opposition to ‘ independence ‘ makes this widley prepared for move a real conundrum for Plaid. They are dammed if they do and cooked if they don’t DET with a history of morning jogging around London with Ken Livingstone… Read more »

Annibendod
Annibendod
8 months ago

Pam? Yn foesgar, dim diolch.

Wynford Jones
Wynford Jones
8 months ago

Rheswm da i mi beidio ag ail-ymuno?

Diafol
Diafol
8 months ago

I won’t post an eloquent reply as the first poster, but for the life of me I cannot understand Plaid letting his Lordship back into the herd. He did untold damage to the party he once led. Parties move on, electorate appetites change. He has been out of step with both. I sincerely hope he goes to pasture. Yes, he shouldn’t be remebered just as the self-aggrandising royal apologist he later became, but that is his legacy regadless.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago

He nearly cost us our Library as well as stealing my vote…should have said no thanks Rhun…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Any sailors out there? A sailing boat called Challenge Wales is in the leading pack of the Tall Ships Race 3 hours into a voyage to Cadiz, Spain via A Coruna and Lisbon…just saying, someone should…

Re DET, four years as deputy culture minister, wall to wall free dinners and jollies. Nice ‘work’ if you can get it !

Cassandra
Cassandra
8 months ago

Fascinating

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
8 months ago

In the first instance it should be pointed out DET left plaid cymru 6 years ago of his own volition – he wasnt suspended by the party or expelled (so presumably he’s free to rejoin plaid in the way anyone else who’s left the party has). And while i have my own views on the merits or otherwise of this development i think this move on the part of Dafydd El confirms what is one of Welsh politics truisms – that for anyone for whom the wellbeing of Wales and its people is a paramount political objective there is nowhere… Read more »

Steffan Gwent
8 months ago

If Dafydd Elis-Thomas is rejoining Plaid will Jonathan Edwards MP soon follow him?

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
8 months ago
Reply to  Steffan Gwent

I’m not the MP. Simply one of many many who left Plaid because it stopped even trying to be a broad church. If Rhun re-opens Plaid as a broad church, we could all rejoin and Plaid might even succeed in its aims. Not going to hold my breath though. Plus there are new players on the pitch now.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

Dafydd Ellis is a bit of an enigma in my humble opinion. One moment he’s a champion of the Welsh language. Supporter of Welsh independence with all that it entails, and then attacks members & supporters of his own party stance on the Monarchy and those who justly criticise his friend , the then absent Prince of Wales AKA King Charles for his pernicious indifference towards a country & people he loyally pledged to serve in 1969. And yes, it’s healthy to have disagreement. I agree. Constructive criticism is good. It leads to debate which is done to find a… Read more »

Rob
Rob
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I am no fan of the Monarchy, however the case for independence should be separate from the case for republicanism. New Zealand, Canada and Australia retain the monarchy but are still fully sovereign countries. Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon both advocated that an independent Scotland to retain the Monarchy. We may disagree with DET when it comes to his views on the monarchy, but that doesn’t mean he is less of a nationalist. Personally when Plaid dips into the Republicanism it risks alienating a lot of voters and therefore harming the independence campaign.

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
8 months ago

Can he be let in ‘on probation’?

Richard
Richard
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur Owen

On licence i think you might mean ?

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago

Huzzah, the Rt. Hon. His imperial lordship (Dic-Sion-)Dafydd Elis-Thomas (aka R’hen Trogot Goch) returns. Nice shoes by the way, must’ve cost a bob or two. First up on the agenda – how to ruin more national monuments under the banner of “accessibility” or some other buzz word. Second, fact-finding mission to find who’s back has the clearest target on it for his lordship’s thirsty llafn.

Sian Edwards
Sian Edwards
8 months ago

I think that decision should be left to his Meirionydd constituency that worked so hard for him and that he betrayed so comprehensively

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago
Reply to  Sian Edwards

Spot on…

Jones Arfon
Jones Arfon
8 months ago

If he rejoins and its down to the Pwyllgor Gwaith to decide; I will happily remain outside.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.