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