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Jonathan Edwards becomes a Plaid Cymru MP once more two years after police warning over assault

10 Aug 2022 4 minute read
Jonathan Edwards MP

The Plaid Cymru whip has been restored to Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards.

The Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP was banned from the party for 12 months in 2020 after receiving a warning from the police about an assault on his wife, and he has sat as an independent MP in Westminster ever since.

Plaid Cymru’s National Executive Committee had recommended not to re-admit the MP but said that they had since taken “further procedural advice” and restored the whip to him.

In an article for Nation.Cymru Plaid Cymru’s Communications Director Siân Gwenllian MS said that the issue was that the party’s disciplinary procedures did not sufficiently differentiate between ordinary members and members who had been elected to positions of influence, and so Jonathan Edwards could automatically resume his title of Plaid MP.

The decision by Plaid Cymru comes after Alun Ffred Jones resigned as chairman of the party due to his dissatisfaction with the way the party has dealt with MP Jonathan Edwards last month.

Gwynedd councillor Beca Brown is now acting chair of the party until an election is held at their annual conference.

In a statement, she said: “In July 2020, Jonathan Edwards’s party membership was suspended for a period of 12 months by a panel of Plaid Cymru’s Membership, Discipline and Standards Committee.

“The suspension of membership reflected the serious nature of Mr Edwards’ police caution and Plaid Cymru’s unequivocal stance that all forms of harassment, abuse and violence are unacceptable.

“The disciplinary panel reconvened in June this year at Mr Edwards’ request and unanimously agreed that he had satisfied the conditions placed upon him. In lifting the suspension, the panel also acknowledged Mr Edwards’ contrition and period of self-reflection.

“A subsequent meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) noted the panel’s decision and considered a proposal recommending to the Westminster group that it does not re-admit Jonathan Edwards into the group. A range of views were expressed, and the proposal was passed by a significant majority.

“The principle of allowing members of the party’s ruling executive to discuss a matter of such significance was of the utmost importance.

“Having received further procedural advice Plaid Cymru has now notified Mr Edwards that the processes relating to his membership of the Westminster group has concluded. The whip has been restored to Mr Edwards.

“Plaid Cymru must, at all times, be a safe space for everyone.

“We will review the party’s processes to identify the lessons learnt in this case. Furthermore, we will also commission an independent review to identify the steps required for the party to be truly free from a culture of misogyny, and to actively and meaningfully promote, defend and extend women’s participation in Plaid Cymru and wider politics.

“Plaid Cymru’s NEC will do all it can to ensure that Plaid Cymru elected representatives uphold the highest standards expected of them.”

‘Regret’

In a statement, Jonathan Edwards said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly again for the action that led to my suspension and express my deep remorse for the hurt which I have caused.”

He added that the past two years had been “a period of deep reflection in which I enrolled on a domestic violence awareness course which has helped me understand the impact my action had on others”.

“My colleagues in the Westminster group and the wider party have championed the rights of women and all victims of abusive behaviour. I regret that my actions took the focus away from this important work,” he said.

More to follow…


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Richard
Richard
1 month ago

I do not know JE or have any connection with him or his local party but do beleive in forgivness and second chances IF earned.

It would be sad of opponanta within his party use this as an excuse to display or advance their own agendas.

We need as a nation to reflect our repect, diversity, care and ethical ideals for certain but also not to be too self rightousness or jusdgemental of others across society.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

How generous of you to forgive this wife beater who snuck back in on a technicality.

Yes it is a sad thing that people are mean to a man whose only crime was inflicting violence on his wife.

I am sure she will be grateful you chose to forgive him on her behalf. What a kind, generous spirit you are.

And the acceptability of violence against women continues. Some days I really hate humanity.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Easy to forgive a man for such actions, when (I hope you don’t mind me saying) you (presumably) as a man, have no concept of what it is to experience violence against women. I am not going to blindly assume you haven’t experienced domestic violence of any kind, but women are disproportionately affected by this type of violence. It is insidious and misogynistic. Perpetrators often have a “problem” with women. Has Plaid spoken to him about this? You speak of forgiveness, but try being a female victim of crime in the criminal justice system. There is often no forgiveness for… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by SundanceKid
Cllr Alun Lenny
Cllr Alun Lenny
1 month ago

This sounds like a procedural error on behalf of the NEC. But the tone of the statement (if the Chair speaks for the Council) shows they are still in denial. We then have allegations about a ‘culture of misogyny.’ That’s a very serious attack on Plaid unless examples can be produced as evidence. It echoes Leanne Wood’s very public and gratuitous criticism of Plaid just four days before the county council elections in May. Two years ago, Adam Price said that Sian Gwenllian had been asked to “conduct a review of the experiences of women and other under-represented groups”. If… Read more »

David
David
1 month ago

So, police cautions for traffic violations does not count.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago

Why is there a seperate page for Siân Gwenllian MS views – She puts forward a very different slant to the whole grubby episode which does Plaid no credit at all.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago

One is a news piece stating “the facts” that Plaid talk a good game, but that their procedures are inadequate for dealing with wife beaters.
The other is an important opinion piece about violence in women in general.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago

I think there procedures actually are adequate to deal with wife beaters as shown last month when the NEC refused to allow him back it is just that they have now changed the procedures because it didnt suite them. I personally think all the Plaid female MPs and SMs need to think long and hard about staying as members of such a party which thinks so little of women.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

Why do some people claim to be qualified to sit in judgment over other people’s private lives? None of us are in a better position than Mrs JE to know the full facts. On the basis of what she has said, it is time to move on.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago

Im sorry but Plaid and all political parties sit in judgment on their political rivals private lives all the time. The Tories are constantly being trashed by Plaid- mostly rightly so so why different for Plaid MPS – You cannot have it both ways. Intrestingly why has the Leader of Plaid not said anything he appears to be the invisable man these days.

Gwenllian
Gwenllian
1 month ago

Absolutely correct. The optics here are absolutely terrible.

The ” procedural advice” clearly did not come from individuals seeking to encourage women’s safety.

And when one considers the party’s support for Trans activists, it seems a hostile environment for women is endemic within Plaid Cymru.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago

What “qualifications” do you need to oppose violence? But here’s something for you. 80% of women who are abused by their husbands and actually report the crime, then withdraw it. In over half these cases, there is a repeat offence. Most stay with their husbands. For various reasons. Fear of being able to make it on their own (coercive control and gaslighting robs them of their confidence), a belief that he can change, fear that he will find them, to protect the kids, to keep the family together. More women are murdered by their husbands than strangers. But because the… Read more »

arthur owen
1 month ago

This may have seemed to be the case yesterday,Ms Edwards has made another statement since then which casts a different light on the matter.

Alun
Alun
1 month ago

This was all a smear campaign by the English parties to desperately present the Welsh Indy movement as being abusive.

It won’t work. We saw through their lies. I’m glad Jonathan is back and taking the fight to the English who are invading our land through 2nd homes.

Sorgina
Sorgina
1 month ago

As a member of Plaid who has repeatedly experienced misogyny within the party, to the extent that I am no longer willing to be active at branch level, the decision does not surprise me one bit.
As a woman who has experienced physical abuse from a male partner, I find the decision deeply offensive

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Sorgina

Perhaps your offending male partner should also have been exposed in much the same way as Edwards. Edwards now knows that if he misbehaves again he’ll be out and finished at the following GE, and will probably face formal proceedings on account of his offending.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Nice that he’s given a second chance. His crimes forgiven by the uninvolved. He should be out now. No way he’s getting re-elected. But he has no honour and is only contrite for the cameras. Would fit right in with the Tories.
Not sure you have enough information to comment confidently on the abuse Sorgina mentioned. (This isn’t me getting fighty. I respect your opinions. The ones I agree with and the ones I don’t. Just this time that came across as a bit dismissive. I don’t think it was intended that way)

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

As well meaning as your comment is, as someone who works within the criminal justice system, people not familar with it are often aghast when they realise how difficult it is to “expose” a violent abuser.

For instance, to get Police to take women seriously, to get a restraining order, and to cope with the pointing fingers and intrusive questions that often come with accusing a man of such behaviour.

Last edited 1 month ago by SundanceKid
Andrew Redman
Andrew Redman
1 month ago

Could the Plaid leadership explain why ANY MP who has the whip withdrawn should NOT stand in a By-Election as an Independent? Presumably, any MP is elected by the public for The Party that they represent? When will the Leader of Plaid state in Public what his view is on this subject? He is more than willing to comment, at every opportunity, about the “Shortcomings” of all other Parties but is more than reticent in condemning the behaviour of members of his own party!!

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