Plaid Cymru’s Arfon MP Hywel Williams to stand down at the next General Election
Arfon MP Hywel Williams has announced his intention to stand down at the next General Election.
The Plaid Cymru MP has represented both the Caernarfon (2001-2010) and Arfon (2010-present) seats in Westminster since 2001.
The seat of Arfon is set to disappear in the next boundary commission reorganisation of Westminster constituencies, as Caernarfon is placed in Dwyfor-Meirionnydd and Bangor in Aberconwy.
Addressing local party members at a meeting last night, Mr Williams said it had been an ‘honour and a privilege’ to serve the people of Arfon, and before that, the Caernarfon constituency during his over two-decade tenure as MP.
Mr Williams was first elected to Parliament in 2001, taking over the Caernarfon seat from Dafydd Wigley. He held the seat at the 2005 General Election, winning the new Arfon seat in 2010 following boundary changes. He has held the seat for Plaid Cymru at 6 successive Westminster elections.
Commenting on his announcement, Hywel Williams MP said: “After much thought and discussion with my family I have decided not to offer myself as a candidate to stand again on behalf of Plaid Cymru to be a Member of Parliament for the Arfon constituency.
“Serving as MP for Caernarfon from 2001 onwards, following in the footsteps of Dafydd Wigley, one of the political giants of Wales, and then standing and winning the new seat of Arfon in 2010 was a huge privilege.
“It was a special honour to represent my home communities of Pwllheli and Rhoslan until the boundary change of 2010. I am extremely grateful for all the support I received from the very beginning from both friends and neighbours and members of the Party in Dwyfor.
“Standing in Arfon, to come second according to the political insiders, was a huge challenge, and that in communities which had never had a Plaid MP before.
“But now the people of Arfon have a Member of Parliament and a Member of our Senedd for Plaid Cymru, together with a large, talented and dedicated group of county and community councillors.
“I would like to give special thanks to my family for their support and patience over 21 years. I am much indebted to my dedicated team of parliamentary staff in Caernarfon and London, and to Party staff in Caernarfon and Cardiff.
“Thank you also to my fellow Members of Parliament and the three who were Members of the Assembly and then the Senedd during my time in office, Dafydd Wigley, Alun Ffred Jones and Sian Gwenllian.
“Finally, I sincerely thank the people of Dwyfor and Arfon for their support over the years and hope that I have fully repaid their faith in me.”
Hywel Williams was first elected to Parliament in 2001, taking over the Caernarfon seat from Dafydd Wigley. He held the seat at the 2005 General Election, winning the new Arfon seat in 2010 following boundary changes. He has held the seat for Plaid Cymru at 6 successive Westminster elections.
During his time as an MP he has campaigned on the rights of disabled and vulnerable people, and served as Plaid Cymru’s Parliamentary Spokesperson on work and pensions since 2001.
He voted against the Iraq war in 2003 and was a leading figure in an attempt to impeach the former Prime Minister Tony Blair for misleading Parliament on the legal case for war.
He has also been a supporter of the cause of the Kurdish people and was also Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Catalunya.
He was also an active member of the Brexit Select Committee, Chair of the Speaker’s Advisory Panel on Works of Art, and a longserving member of the Speaker’s Panel of Chairmen.
Chair of Plaid Cymru Arfon Constituency Party, Cllr Elin Walker-Jones said: “Hywel has worked tirelessly for his constituents and the party since he was first elected in 2001 and is a steadfast campaigner for social justice. It has been a pleasure to work alongside Hywel on a number of local issues over recent years.
“It is no easy task to establish a good name for yourself in Westminster, but Hywel has certainly succeeded, commanding wide respect across the political divide and will leave a legacy that the party and the people of Wales can be proud of.
“On behalf of the constituency party in Arfon, I extend my sincerest thanks to Hywel for his steadfast service to the people of Arfon and wish him the very best on his retirement.”
Member of the Senedd for Arfon Sian Gwenllian said: “From my time as a county councillor, as a candidate for the Welsh Parliament and as a Member of the Senedd, it has been an honour and a pleasure to work with Hywel, championing the local area and campaigning on key issues from the threat of pylons across Y Fenai to serious threats to local health services.
“He has helped make Plaid Cymru a powerful force for social justice at Westminster and has consistently been amongst Parliaments most progressive and radical voices.
“Not least during Tony Blairs illegal war in Iraq and the political and cultural omnishambles caused by Brexit, Hywel has been a representative that Arfon, and prior to that Caernarfon, can be proud of.
“Hywel has been fierce and principled in holding the Tories to account for the last 12 years, in complete contrast to an all too often anaemic, watered-down version of opposition by the Labour Party.
“Hywel has been a compassionate and fearless local voice for this area since the beginning of the millennium. Now he deserves to stand down to spend quality time with his family. But I will miss his wisdom and friendship. Diolch o galon am bob dim Hywel.”
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said: “Throughout his time in the House of Commons, Hywel Williams has been a tireless campaigner for social justice, giving voice to vulnerable and disabled people, and leading the fight against cruel Westminster welfare policies.
“His extensive knowledge of welfare issues and background in social work has made him a formidable ally in the campaign against injustice and inequality. He has been a conscientious constituency MP and is held in high regard across the political spectrum.
“His experience and wisdom will be missed by the Plaid Cymru group in Westminster – but I know his much valued contribution to the party will continue. I wish him all the best for the future.”
Plaid Cymru Leader in Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “Hywel Williams has played a huge role in both the national politics of Wales and the politics of Gwynedd, and many of us – in Plaid Cymru and beyond – are in his debt.
“Reference can be made to his work with the Welsh language, our rights as citizens in the face of Brexit threats, and the Catalans rights to independence.
“Hywel has brought a thoughtful approach of peaceful humanitarianism to all his work, and we will miss his wisdom, patience and kindness.
“I am personally grateful to him for his constant encouragement for women to enter into politics.”
Plaid Cymru Chair Marc Jones said: “On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I want to pay tribute to Hywels years of loyalty to the party and tireless campaigning on behalf of the people of Arfon.
“Hywel is the epitome of a first-rate politician, a true representative of the people who has championed good causes by giving a voice to the voiceless.
“I know Hywel will continue to make a significant contribution to the party and Welsh discourse and that his constituents will continue to have a hard-working Member of Parliament up until the next election.”
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Sad to hear Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams is to stand down as an MP.at the next General Election. Hopefully whoever replaces him will put as much effort into fighting for Wales at Westminster as he done over his career. Diolch yn fawr Hywel.
If the Arfon seat is abolished he won’t be replaced.