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