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