Former Plaid Cymru leader ‘furious’ party voted for Leanne Wood to be First Minister
A former Plaid Cymru leader has revealed he was “furious” with the party for voting for Leanne Wood to be First Minister.
Dafydd Elis-Thomas, who used to be the MS for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, and stepped down at the recent election, criticised Plaid for the vote in the legislature in 2016, when it tried to install Wood in the post instead of Carwyn Jones after Labour won the election.
Elis-Thomas said: “I was furious, and I made the mistake of telling Carwyn Jones that I was furious, telling him what I thought of my fellow members in Plaid that they’d done this.”
The vote ended in deadlock after an informal coalition of Plaid Cymru, the Conservatives and UKIP successfully blocked the reappointment of Carwyn Jones.
Leanne Wood, who was the leader of Plaid at the time, was able to draw level with Jones in the vote, after they received 29 each.
Elis-Thomas, who fell out with the party he used to lead, went on to become an independent Senedd member, as well as a Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism in the Labour-led Welsh Government.
In an interview with Cymru Fyw, he said: “My plan was to have a coalition (with Labour) at the start of the last Senedd, and the Plaid Cymru group refused to go into discussions with Labour – only three from the group voted for the coalition.”
When asked if he felt sad about how things ended with Plaid Cymru, he said: “No, I didn’t have a choice the way I looked at it. I felt there was a need to cooperate, and the group refused to do that.
“But what they did then was propose Leanne’s name against Carwyn Jones for the First Ministership. I always thought that the standing orders made it clear that the first vote in the Senedd was for the Llywydd and Deputy, and then propose to vote for a First Minister.
“And that’s when Wales gets its Government – it’s a formal matter that the Queen agrees.
“I have never broken a three line whip, and I think that the idea of a whip and order is key.
“I thought that proposing to vote for a First Minister was a proposal that was made after discussions with the understanding that there wasn’t two candidates, that the First Minister wasn’t a party mater but a mater for the whole body – the Senedd is much too small.”