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Jonathan Edwards MP says he won’t re-join Plaid Cymru Westminster group

13 Aug 2022 6 minute read
Jonathan Edwards MP. Picture by Plaid Cymru.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards has announced that he won’t be rejoining Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Group.

He 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, but had the whip restored this week.

But in a statement issued today Jonathan Edwards said that “it is with deep regret that I announce that I will not be re-joining the Plaid Cymru Westminster group to allow a period of calm reflection”.

He also added that “over the past two years there have been periods when I have felt suicidal as my personal and professional life crumbled and I was offered no safeguarding by the party”. The full statement can be read below.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price also put out a statement to say: “My firm belief is that Jonathan Edwards cannot continue to represent Plaid Cymru in Westminster. He should resign immediately.”

He added: “I also call on Jonathan Edwards to leave the party. His actions do not represent our values and his position as an MP sends the wrong message out to domestic abuse survivors in Wales and beyond.

“I would like to thank Emma Edwards for speaking out yesterday and for her to know that her voice has been heard. I would also like to offer my apology to her and all domestic abuse survivors for the pain this has caused.

“Our disciplinary processes must change to give victims of gender-based violence a central role in any enquiries. This work will begin immediately and will be given the urgency and gravity it clearly deserves.”

‘Listened to’

His statement comes after Plaid Cymru said that they are “considering carefully” the implications of a statement by his wife.

Emma Edwards had told BBC Wales that she was “appalled and disappointed” that Plaid Cymru has reinstated Jonathan Edwards as an MP for the party.

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.

But in a further statement, Plaid Cymru hinted that they were looking again at the matter.

“Plaid Cymru believes the voice of victims of domestic violence must be listened to, and the party is considering carefully the implications of the public statement made by Emma Edwards and what action may need to be taken as a result of her statement,” they said.

Party chair Beca Brown took to Twitter to say: “Diolch Emma am dy ddewrder. Thank you so much for your bravery.”

Former party president Dafydd Iwan also took to social media to say in Welsh that “Emma’s words put a different perspective on things. It seems that reconciliation and love are now irrelevant / impossible, unfortunately.”

Jonathan Edward’s statement

“It is with deep regret that I announce that I will not be re-joining the Plaid Cymru Westminster group to allow a period of calm reflection,” he said.

“I wish to state at the outset that I have never made any public comments in relation to the event that led to my arrest or my marriage.

“My priority has always been my children and not my career. Suffice to say that my wife and I are nearing the end of a divorce process, and I will not be responding to any comments she chooses to make while I am a Member of Parliament and our children are young.

“I will say only this, that relationships can often be very complex. I take full responsibility for the action that led to my arrest and subsequent police caution. I will regret that day to the end of my life.

“The past two years have 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. The story of a relationship however does not begin and end with one isolated incident.

“Throughout this period I have complied fully with the party and their requirements. I have never made any public statements about my personal life or my concerns about how the party was dealing with my case.

“I know that some will disagree, but I feel that we are in a very dangerous environment when there is no space for anyone in the public sphere to speak honestly about mistakes they make, to be allowed to show genuine remorse and to try and build a better life.

“I am concerned that there has been no distinction in any of the discussions about the difference between an incident and a pattern of behaviour.

“Over the part two years there have been periods when I have felt suicidal as my personal and professional life crumbled and I was offered no safeguarding by the party.

“I am also concerned that in recent weeks senior politicians within the party have misused their positions of power by subjecting me to vindictive and vengeful coordinated political attacks.

“My politics has always been driven by the desire to build a fairer country for our communities and I hope that those in the party will continue with this work and restore a healthier politics.

“I adore my home communities of Carmarthenshire and without their support and that of the local party and my family and friends I don’t think I would still be alive today. I am particularly grateful to my new partner Fflur, who has shown me what love is and what joys a healthy relationship can bring.

“The local party and I have fought many battles over the years and my thanks for their unwavering support could never be expressed in words. However, I can’t ask them to march up a hill for me.

“I’ve given my whole adult life to serving the communities of Carmarthenshire. In my time of need, they stood by me. My priority must now be to rebuild my life as best as I can and serve the communities of Carmarthenshire for the remainder of this parliamentary term.

“I will not be making any other public statements at this time.”


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

Typical! Absolutely and depressingly typical. A light apology, some excuse framing and then the switch to the old “I’m a victim too” routine.

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

Not good enough. He must step down as MP. He is not fit for office. This is larger than “But, but I like him and his wife forgave him”. If the local party had any honour they would recall him and hold a by-election. The only way Plaid will keep that seat is if they act now.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago

A sh1t sandwich, from start to finish!!

Just imagine if they were running a country!!

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago

His statement is all about him and how hard its been for HIM- talk about self pity. Nice to hear that Adam Price is still alive i was beginning to think aliens had abducted him such was his silence.

Last edited 1 month ago by NOT Grayham Jones
Richard
Richard
1 month ago

NGJ. Please lay off Adam Drakeford !

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Why, is Adam above scrutiny?

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

Read Richard’s post again. He is inferring Adam Price is another Mark Drakeford.
Off topic, but we know how political trolls are like a dog with a bone with their ad hominems

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

I’m all for giving someone a second chance but Plaid cannot be seen to reward the perpetrator of domestic abuse when the victim (his wife) is still experiencing trauma. I know Jonathan Edwards has stated that he won’t join the Plaid group at Westminster, but he still represents his constituents who elected him as a Plaid MP. And I agree with Adam Price. He should step down immediately as an MP. I think by doing this gesture will eventually restore his once good name. And maybe in the future if he ever decides to run again for office, say for… Read more »

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I agree with you about everything except restoring his good name. He assaulted his wife. Nothing to restore. He cannot UN-beat her.
I fully expect to be voted down again by those with elastic morality for this, but downvotes from elderly rebels in wellies means less than nothing to me. The man should be recalled and kicked out.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Look, you are right. He can’t undo what he did. There’s a line you cannot cross in life without consequences. He crossed that line. And by staying gives the impression that he cares more about the retention of his MP job than any moral duty not only to his former wife but the party, his constituents & country he represents. And sure, we all have family arguments & disputes, but his developed into something ugly which resulted in him assaulting his wife. Not acceptable. Also remember, he was once untainted by scandal but It’ll take more than an anger management… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Cymro
SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

We don’t know whether his conduct evolved from a family dispute or argument. Wide-ranging research suggests that men who perpetrate abuse in the home, tend to make a habit of it. Perpetrators of domestic abuse and sexual violence often have an issue with women, so changing their behaviour is extremely difficult. Does he make a habit of lashing out in public? If not, this suggests he can control his temper when he needs to, and his behaviour might have had nothing to do with an argument. Such a man has no place representing Plaid in Westminster. He could cost them… Read more »

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

I’m perfectly prepared to believe his act was an escalation of a family argument. I’m perfectly prepared to believe he had not done this before.
But in his mealy mouthed statement there is a little veiled spite at his ex, where he praises his and his new partner’s relationship as a “healthy” one. This tells me he regrets only getting caught, not being violent.
The pillar of the community he once was is gone. The pillock he now is, must be recalled since he won’t do the right thing himself.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago

Maybe you are prepared to believe this was an escalation of a family argument. I am not disputing that it wasn’t. I am merely trying to point out that also, perhaps that this may also not be the case, and could possibly be part of a wider pattern of behaviour. We don’t know the circumstances, but we shouldn’t blithely assume one way or another. Blaming his conduct on an argument that “got out of hand” can serve to minimise his behaviour, from the point of view of other domestic abuse victims. His lack of contrition and urge to blame the… Read more »

Dafydd Thomas
Dafydd Thomas
1 month ago

Too little, too late. From all sides. It took Mrs Edwards’s bravery to bring about this call from Price. Had she chosen to maintain her silence, then nothing would have been done and the man who assaulted her would have been standing as a Plaid candidate in the next GE. Whatever the legal advice given to the party about restoring the whip (and btw, Jeremy Corbyn should employ this lawyer) the national exec were under no obligation to restore Edwards’s membership. They knew what they were doing that day – opening the door to a domestic abuser. Even Sian Gwenllian… Read more »

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