A former Plaid Cymru councillor and constituency party candidate has joined Neil McEvoy’s Welsh Nation Party.
Councillor Tim Thomas, who represents the Ynysawdre ward on Bridgend County Borough Council, claimed Plaid Cymru was becoming “increasingly centralised around a Cardiff Bay bubble”.
The former Plaid Cymru Group Leader on the council also accused it of being “ever more out of touch with the ordinary people” he represents.
He said that Plaid Cymru’s national party had no contact with him whatsoever and he had limited contact with the party’s regional Members of the Senedd.
Tim Thomas represented Plaid Cymru in Ogmore in the 2015 General Election and 2016 Assembly election.
Plaid Cymru responded to the defection by saying that Cllr Thomas was suspended from the party in October, and that it “won’t be taking lessons in effective representation from a party which has no democratic mandate”.
The WNP now has eight Councillors across four local authorities, as well as one member of the Senedd in party leader Neil McEvoy, who was also elected, in 2016, to represent Plaid Cymru.
The party has changed its name from Welsh National Party after Plaid Cymru challenged its registration with the Electoral Commission, saying that its name was too similar to its own.
Cllr Thomas said: “It just seemed to me that working-class communities like the one that I represent – and let’s be frank, many communities across the South West region, were being ignored.
“Joining the WNP has been a breath of fresh air. We are set to unveil policies that many people on the doorsteps are talking about. The WNP’s vision of creating a better Wales is one that is more authentic to communities in Wales.
“Politics in Wales has become a bit sterile and it needs freshening up. I think the WNP is that exciting new voice that will reignite Welsh politics.
Welsh Nation Party Leader, Neil McEvoy, welcomed the news:
“It’s great to have such a hard-working Cllr like Tim join Team WNP. Wales needs champions and Tim is certainly a champion for his community and for Wales.
“There is now real momentum behind the WNP. We’ve got very talented Councillors and members joining across the country in their hundreds and Cllr Thomas is the latest addition to our excellent team.
“I anticipate the WNP will be welcoming more elected representatives from across Wales to join our movement in the coming months.”
A spokesperson for Plaid Cymru said: “Like the leader of the party which he has joined, Mr Thomas was suspended from Plaid Cymru for breaching the party’s standing orders.
“Plaid Cymru is proud of the way its councillors, MSs and MPs represent their constituents with compassion and commitment in all parts of Wales.
“We won’t be taking lessons in effective representation from a party which has no democratic mandate.”