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Leanne Wood ‘always thought’ second Brexit referendum was a ‘bad idea’

18 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Leanne Wood speaking to a member at the Plaid Cymru conference. Picture by Plaid Cymru

Leanne Wood has said she “always thought” supporting a second Brexit referendum was a “bad idea”.

The former Plaid Cymru leader, who lost her Rhondda seat at the Senedd election, said the party’s move to back one was not something she supported.

She told Walescast that she argued behind the scenes that the 2016 result should be respected, but that she lost an internal battle over the direction of the party.

Initially Wood accepted the leave result but she also told a special party conference that Plaid should “stand up for all those who voted to remain”.

However in October 2017 she said Plaid could support a second referendum if no exit deal was agreed by March 2019.

According to Wood, the “pressure was immense” from Adam Price, who replaced her as leader, and others within the party, to back a new EU poll.

Wood told the BBC podcast: “I always thought the idea of a second referendum was a really bad idea,” she said.

“I really felt very, very strongly that if you ask people a question in a democracy you have to accept the result, no matter how much you don’t like it.

“I spent a lot of time internally within Plaid Cymru trying to persuade people that we needed to accept this result, trying to persuade people that the messages and the words we were using to describe what had happened were causing great anger amongst people in some places.

“But it was a debate that people couldn’t face I think.”

‘Deposed’ 

Wood was elected Plaid leader in 2012, before being deposed in 2018, after coming came last behind Adam Price and fellow challenger Rhun ap Iorwerth in a leadership election.

She told the Walescast that she is no longer friends with Adam Price after he challenged her for the leadership of the party.

“I don’t feel like it was done correctly really and probably that’s part of why it’s been quite difficult,” she said.

“We’re not friends now. We haven’t been friends for years.”

Asked if that had been difficult to deal with, she replied: “Losing a friendship is difficult isn’t it?

“And losing a friendship under these political circumstances, when the project you believe in and is getting somewhere is stopped, that adds an extra layer of difficulty.”

A Plaid spokesman told the BBC: “Leanne Wood has made an invaluable contribution to the work of Plaid Cymru and will undoubtedly continue to play an important role within wider Welsh public life in future.

“Plaid Cymru is proud of being a member-led party that empowers its membership to take key decisions, including granting the leader a clear mandate through leadership elections.”

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Dim problem
Dim problem
1 month ago

This’ll come back to bite her when the first Welsh Independence referendum doesn’t go her way.

Jack
Jack
1 month ago

I never entirely understood what the difference was between Leanne Wood’s Plaid and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

The only differences were Welsh Independence (though even LW didn’t seem to think that was an immediate priority) and LW saying that you couldn’t trust Labour’s backbenchers, though obviously she didn’t trust Plaid’s AM’s either.

In the 2017 election, Plaid & Labour were virtually the same.

tired of this
tired of this
1 month ago

Extremely depressing. Despite being a Plaid supporter and voter for many years I didn’t actually join until Ms Wood became leader and in fact I joined in order to vote for her. I very much liked her approach and ideas and the fact she wasn;t just another middle-aged man in a suit. (And by the way, I think Corbyn and the Labour Party generally are one of the essential reasons we’re in this dire position at the moment.) But I am now thinking I was wrong. And therein lies the whole thing – I think NOW that I was wrong… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  tired of this

If at first you don’t succeed…give up!

Matthew Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Or, as WC Fields put it, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point being a damn fool about it.”

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

I recall Plaid’s support in the opinion polls under LW’s leadership plummeting to single digits. Beyond a small but vocal fan club, she had no credibility as a potential FM candidate with the public at large.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

The last poll of welsh public opinion while leanne wood was plaid leader – well above ‘single digits’ 😉 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-38042684

Ex Plaid member
Ex Plaid member
1 month ago

I liked Leanne and her politics. But as with many senior Plaid characters, they can’t tolerate even a slight differences of opinion. Their instinct is to attack anyone who presents evidence that they don’t understand or suggests something might be improved. This is why Plaid will not be a party of government in Wales until it learns this leason. Personally cheap to be nice to members. Politically expense to p**s them off.

Mark Rhydderch-Roberts
Mark Rhydderch-Roberts
1 month ago

Yes if course, always a bad idea to actually let the plebs have their say when the dismal self serving political elite know so much better, especially an intellectual genius like Leanne Wood. It does of course explain why Plaid represent virtually no one in Wales and consistently poll in single digits.

Rob Evans
Rob Evans
1 month ago

of course in your seemingly anglo world out here in the west we are virtually no one

Llewelyn
Llewelyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob Evans

Rhydderch Roberts hardly sounds Anglo.

Just because you differ on his an opinion doesn’t make right on his name.

I’m a gog, and learned put me of from voting Plaid as she just represented the valleys of the South.

Rob Evans
Rob Evans
1 month ago
Reply to  Llewelyn

check him out
agree article suggests she put the non fact checked opinion of historic settlers into the valleys ahead of the interests of Wales

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  Llewelyn

If he was an Anglo it might make sense….. Holding on to the Raj and all that. Personally I think his real name is Cairns.

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

Oh it’s the Sultan of Sarcasm again….. Is he a machine or just a busy bee unionist dick?

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

I fully support the concept of respecting a democratic vote. However, many people, including myself thought the vote was advisory only, that parliament would have the final say as a result. Instead the vote was highjacked by hardliners and parliament sidelined. In no other country would a 3.8 percent majority be enough for such a major economic change. It shows how utterly useless our political system is in this country. The consequences are likely to be far reaching and ultimately the end of the UK’s existence.

tired of this
tired of this
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Entirely true. It was horrifying enough that more than 50% of the actual voters (not the whole population, remember) showed they had only a vague understanding of the realities and wanted to recreate a golden age of empire than in fact vanishingly few of them had ever experienced. Even worse when the people we notionally put in place to moderate the crazier impulses of the population actually went one step beyond. Personally I’m not bothered by the ‘end of the UK’s existence and look forward to a highly possible Atlantic alliance encompassing the Celtic nations and the Scandinavians. But we’re… Read more »

John Brooks
John Brooks
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

It was made very clear by the then Prime Minister that the result of the referendum would be implemented.
It was also stated that the result would be implemented in the documents sent to every household.

Whilst legally advisory, it was clear the result would be treated as binding.

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  John Brooks

So David said “I’m a lemming and I HAVE to jump.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

The as was assembly was created by 0.3% was it not?

As for the advisory status of it. Nobody and I mean nobody who knew it was technically advisory could surely have expected the government to ignore it (unlike the AV, Scottish and Welsh referendums which were binding). Can you imagine Farage and the Daily Mail etc, if Cameron announced that morning that now the people have spoken Parliament will debate it? There would have been rioting.

(not to mention the Conservatives and Labour would have supported an exit in that hypothetical debate too)

Llewelyn
Llewelyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Couldn’t we say that about the assembly referendum vote too? Just to play devil advocate, the assembly got in on a lesser majority than Brexit. I voted remain BTW.

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 month ago
Reply to  Llewelyn

But, the vote for the Assembly, as was, while close was legally binding. And also sought ‘losers’ consent in the make up of the assembly roles and what it would eb responsible for. The Brexit vote, had neither of those things. And that is a key difference.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago
Reply to  Llewelyn

Which vote was more likely to see Wales worse off? We were told brexit would affect business and livelihoods but it was cast off as ‘project fear’ – now it’s happening. Has the creation of the Senedd made Wales worse off – no.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve Duggan
Huw Prys Jones
Huw Prys Jones
1 month ago

According to her logic on the need to accept the result of the 2016 referendum, is she also telling Nicola Sturgeon that it is wrong to call for a second vote on independence for Scotland?
The one reason I could not vote for Leanne Wood to continue as Plaid leader was her soft and ambiguous attitude towards Brexit. Plaid would have had nothing to gain by pandering to Brexiteers. And the empty shelves and labour shortages that we see these days show that those of us who favoured a harder stance were right.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

Lest we forget where Plaid stood under LW’s leadership … polling at 9%

https://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/the-new-welsh-political-barometer-poll-5/

tired of this
tired of this
1 month ago

Dismal proof that I was wrong. Happy to admit it. Mind you I don’t like Adam Price either…but then again anyone who can put up a decent front for an independent Wales will be OK with me. Any volunteers?

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  tired of this

If the job is open I nominate Dr John Ball.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

Lest we forget the poll youve used was for peoples voting intentions for the 2017 uk general election – plaid rarely records significant figures in polls for westminster elections. The last welsh barometer poll conducted while leanne was plaid leader (july 2018) showed them at 22 percent – a little bit up on the party’s vote in the recent senedd election https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2018-07-02/what-the-latest-welsh-barometer-poll-tell-us-about-how-the-parties-are-faring

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

If she thought it was a bad idea then why did she go along with it? For me as someone who voted to remain I would have advocated for a softer Brexit ie Norway or Switzerland, rather than a second referendum. The Tories/Brexiteers played a ‘support a hard Brexit or your against democracy’ argument, despite themselves advocating a Norway style deal prior to the referendum. The mid to late 2010s the age of Brexit and Trump was a truly frustrating time because everyone seemed to be abandoning the middle ground. For Leanne Wood when it comes to Welsh independence her… Read more »

tired of this
tired of this
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Another demonstration that I was wrong in supporting Leanne Wood. No Labour ‘leftist’ is ever going to support independence, they’re all central-government people at heart – Westminster Rules. The Labour party as we see it seems to have no real purpose or constituency other than those (of us) with socialist inclinations. Then again I stopped voting Labour the minute I moved back to Wales from England decades ago. Essentially the Conservatives but a bit more ‘caring sharing’.

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  tired of this

Yep….tories but with better manners.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago

Nice to hear that she’s spending her time off taking pot shots at the party that gave her a platform, voted for her as leader and provided her with a career. Iesu wen, cywilyddus. This sort of Ill-disciplined, reactionary spiel is why you lost, Leanne. It’s nobody else’s fault, just your own. Playing hindsight is only ever fun when you exclude yourself – such a waste of talent. She was popular for reasons she never understood herself, focusing on narrow, divisive politics fed to her by algorithm instead of building on the communitarian, hardworking image she used to exude. Hopefully… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

Sad to see that anonymous trolls are still intent upon assassinating leanne wood’s character and targeting her with crude baseless smears. Indeed her period as plaid leader was marked by disgusting abuse from trolls on social media – including threats to rape and shoot her 😢
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-38042684

Last edited 1 month ago by Leigh Richards
CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Every single public official gets a massive amount of awful crap from trolls, and that’s a terrible state of affairs. That’s awful. How this is in any way applicable to the fact that she was the only sitting AM to lose her seat is beyond me. Her failures will hopefully fuel her re-emergence as a political player and public servant, lessons learned, refocusing on serving the public and not on fighting/feeding trolls on twitter. Leanne Wood is an adult, one who should be fully able to face legitimate criticism and ignore trolls (and report any threats of violence, something nobody… Read more »

Wild Rose
Wild Rose
1 month ago

Plaid Cymru does not empower its members. In a member driven organisation inherent power lies with each member. It is the members who empower the reps they elect to implement members desired policies. The ass backwards view posited by this spokesperson clearly indicates Plaid is an elite democracy not a truly member driven participatory democracy .

Gwynedd
Gwynedd
1 month ago

I listened to the podcast. Leanne forgot to mention that Plaid had first won Rhondda (and Islwyn) in 1999 under Dafydd Wigley’s leadership. . Also I don’t think that referring several times to the Tories as “class enemies” is going to get us anywhere.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Gwynedd

Agreed. Sadly, the Tories are polling upwards of 30%. If Plaid is to make any kind of serious breakthrough, they need to win over some of those voters.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

Leanne being as honest and forthright as we have come to expect – qualities that will be much missed at the Senedd until shes hopefully elected again next time round.

nappyboss
nappyboss
1 month ago

The uk can be called a democracy only with a most ironic lifted eyebrow. The first rule in a democracy is to present voters with the issues honestly and truly, whereas the gammons were covered in a manure of lies, which they seemed to find attractive.

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