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‘Leannistas’ altered Rhun ap Iorwerth’s leadership plan for Plaid Cymru

29 Jun 2023 5 minute read
Leanne Wood

Martin Shipton

Associates of former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood pushed through amendments to a policy paper discussing potential changes to the party’s power structure that could lead to it having two leaders – one male and one female – we can reveal.

Opponents of the potential move to a gender-balanced joint leadership see it as a way of undermining Rhun ap Iorwerth, who was declared party leader less than two weeks ago following a contest in which he turned out to be the only candidate.

Last weekend the party’s national executive committee (NEC) met in Aberystwyth. One of the agenda items related to possible changes to Plaid’s leadership structure. Nation.Cymru spoke to a number of longstanding party members who considered it wholly inappropriate that such an issue should be brought up so soon after Mr ap Iorwerth’s election.

Currently it is widely believed that a left-wing faction associated with Ms Wood, known facetiously as “Leannistas”, control the NEC. Although Ms Wood lost her Rhondda seat to Labour at the last Senedd election in 2021, there is a belief that she hopes to make a come-back at the next election in 2026, by which time the Senedd will have expanded from 60 to 96 seats and MSs will be elected by a new voting system based on closed party lists, under which the parties rank candidates and voters are excluded from deciding which individuals to vote for.

Annual conference

The “Leannistas” back the idea of a gender-balanced dual leadership and we have been told there were plans to move motions to that effect at Plaid’s annual conference later in the year.

Such a move would, however, lead to strong opposition from others in the party who believe the dual leadership concept would not resonate with voters.

Reacting to our article in which longstanding party members expressed dismay at what they saw as an attempt to undermine the new leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth tweeted: “Strange one this – I was the one who presented a paper to the NEC proposing to work on equality in leadership roles at all levels in the party, and the NEC supported that. Hope that’s not too disappointing for those looking for a juicier story!”

What Mr ap Iorwerth did not mention in his tweet was that the NEC altered the paper after he presented it.

A well-placed Plaid source told us: “Although Rhun introduced it, it was changed by those who could be deemed ‘Leannistas’ to be less vague and open-ended in terms of timescale.”

Misogynistic

Another longstanding Plaid source told us: “There can be no doubt that the Leannistas want to move the party into a position where it has two leaders – one female and one male. It was very revealing to see their comments on Twitter criticising those who oppose the idea as ‘misogynistic’.

“It is not misogynistic to oppose having two leaders of a political party. The electorate is attuned to a party having one leader, whether they are female or male. It would be disastrous for Plaid to have a dual leadership.

“Faced with this reality, Rhun could adopt two strategies. Either he could take on the Leannistas, who only have minority support in the party as a whole, or he decides to go for what in the short term may be seen as the soft option of avoiding confrontation.

“That’s what he seems to be doing at the moment. The danger of pursuing that course is that they will want more and more, and they’ll never be satisfied. The main thrust of their strategy is to have control of the party. That’s more important than actually achieving anything for Wales.”

Discussions

Ms Wood denied having anything to do with the NEC discussion about co-leadership. We sent her a message asking her whether she would support having a joint leadership with a man and a woman leader, but she did not respond.

In 2018 she rejected such an idea when it was mooted by Adam Price during the leadership campaign in which he subsequently defeated her.

During the recent contest to choose a successor to Mr Price, who resigned after a report exposed bullying and harassment within the party, Ms Wood said she wanted to see a woman lead the party. However, no female candidate accepted nomination and Mr ap Iorwerth was elected unopposed.

We have repeatedly asked Plaid Cymru to provide us with the text of the leadership paper discussed at last weekend’s NEC meeting. The party has refused to do so, saying it is a confidential internal document.

When we became aware that the original text had been altered by those described as Leannistas, we asked to have both versions disclosed to us, but the party again refused.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
9 months ago

That’s fine Plaid. Address the issues which led to the departure of Adam Price and sort out your structures but ultimately, get to the point where we have in place our Nicola Sturgeon, the thorn in the backside of the Empire who can change minds, get your members elected in large numbers and push our country towards the Independence it desperately needs.

CJPh
CJPh
9 months ago

Truth and power are different things. Truth always wins in the end.

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

Power depends on context. Too many of our current politicians settle for something that is illusory, meaningless, without any regard for the wider context and its effects. Great having a dual leadership but if that doesn’t resonate with the electorate the eventual effect will be fewer politicians in representative roles, so less power in the Senedd. Those roles do not grant total power but they have a degree of power, and influence, which are more likely to produce results, which I presume are part of the party’s purpose.

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
9 months ago

Some great journalism in action here. If only the likes of ITV’s Sharp End could pull their finger out for something as good, rather than treating politics as though they were broadcasting a Weather Report, or worse, a Children’s Television show. Here’s a thought. Why didn’t Woody Woodpecker, or perhaps just her sycophants, push for a double leadership during her mediocre reign as Headgirl Of The Upper Sixth Form, from 2012 to 2018. As too with the hypocrisy in her not resigning when failing, as Adam Price apparently did, to sort the ‘toxic culture’ within Plaid: it’s all naked political… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 months ago

All I want is a united party that fights for Wales and independence, because unionist Welsh Labour will always sync with their puppet masters in London as done when former First Minister Carwyn Jones did when he linked arms with UK Labour, Liberals and far-right Ukip and Conservatives to stop Scottish independence in 2014 based on lies and false promises

Rob
Rob
9 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

The proposal by the SNP for an independent Scotland to keep the pound and have a veto over monetary policy would have put Wales at a disadvantage. They would have had veto power and we would not. Carwyn Jones was criticised by Leanne Wood’s Plaid for pointing that out, yet he was spot on. Furthermore in the run up to the referendum some ‘Leannistas’ were arguing that Scotland leaving the UK would make Wales become ‘part of England’, a point I actually had sympathy with. If that was the case then why support the Yes campaign? Don’t get me wrong… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
9 months ago
Reply to  Rob

If that were the case then I suggest that the Leannistas are a little slow in coming to the party – Wales has been part of England since the Laws in Wales Acts of the mid sixteenth century. That’s the reason Wales doesn’t appear in the Union Flag, because it was ‘annexed and incorporated’.

The Welsh Language Act 1993 and Devolution changed those laws a little, but fundamentally Wales is, legally speaking, still a part of England.

wayne
wayne
9 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Plaid Cymru is finished, They can’t help falling out and love to cosy up with Labour. Time to make your minds up Independence will not be achieved by talk and betrayal. Time for Change.

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
9 months ago

Just for the record it was the Leanne Wood clique of AMs, that included Nerys Evans and Bethan Sayed, that blocked the All Wales Agreement from even being presented to Plaid Cymru members at a Special Conference after the 2007 Welsh General Election. So, I can well believe that supporters of Leanne Wood would seek to scupper Rhun Ap Iorwerth’s leadership of Plaid Cymru. That faction pushed Plaid away from the electoral territory that meant they were the second largest party in the Senedd and have consistently kept them away from it. That by definition is toxic to Plaid and… Read more »

Geoffrey Harris
Geoffrey Harris
9 months ago

I think some in Plaid are more concerned with feminist issue’s rather than working for the revolution that will be independence.

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
9 months ago

‘Feminist issues’ Do you mean ensuring women are safe from predatory men? Do you mean ensuring ALL females have access to sanitary products when? Do you mean ensuring equal pay for women? Which they don’t receive over 50 years after the equal pay act. A situation which is worse in Cymru compared to other UK Nations. If you don’t think these issues are important then I have to question your priorities 😒

Richardo
Richardo
9 months ago

Bring back IWJ! He’s the past and he’s the future. How many Plaid leaders were gifted their very own Science Park? Leanne didn’t even get a chemistry set. He’s been experimenting with an independence “vapour” that will convert all to the cause, huge brown clouds of the stuff will roll down the valleys and our dream will be fulfilled!

Forget all the Plaid incestuous factionalism, IWJ is our truly gaseous future! (Adam was close though)

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
9 months ago
Reply to  Richardo

Ieuan Wynn Jones pmsl 😂 Yeah he was so good at leading Plaid Cymru That his own party took half his job away from him. Then he made a big thing out of being ‘the main opposition to Labour in Wales.’ I didn’t know opposition meant being in Coalition with those you’re opposed to 😂😂🤣🤣

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

This is the nature of Welsh politics since time immemorial…

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
9 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

You mean the converted fighting amongst themselves. What hope have they of converting Wales online readers or anyone else to their cause?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

Brother fighting brother (or sister), making outside alliances, with Normans or whoever…

Last edited 9 months ago by Mab Meirion
Rob L
Rob L
9 months ago

A women desperate to cling on. Leanne you were defeated at the previous leadership contest, at the last election, just go away, you

Gary H
Gary H
9 months ago

You need political instincts to lead a party. All Leanne and friends seem to have is a factional agenda. At the moment these peoplexare destroyong Plaid’s electoral hopes. And while we’re at it, please can we have an assurance from Ms Wood that all the misogynist bullies have been purged from Plaid ranks. She seems to know who they were but no-one else knows their names.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
9 months ago

If Leanne Wood wants to be leader of our party then I suggest she must convince the Welsh electorate to gain seats from UK Labour or UK Tories.

My suggestion to Leanne is that she spends her energies campaigning in her areas of South Wales – Rhondda.

Results at the elections must always speak louder.

Richard
Richard
9 months ago

The Divide and Rule brigade will be loving this stuff……

…….they almost succeeded with Yes Cymru 😯

LW had, has and will have a great deal
to offer Wales but Rhun needs a United front to move his party forward.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
9 months ago

It’s all seams rather tiresome. What’s this ‘Leannista’ stuff? Honestly, are we trying to make it easy for Westminster to split us? Remember divide and conquer anyone? So one day we may have a dual leadership, fine, it’s no big deal, it’s worked for other parties and countries. Let’s not make a big issue of it, let’s just pull together and gain independence! That is ultimately what it’s all about!

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

 Honestly, are we trying to make it easy for Westminster to split us? 

HO HO HO! Plaid are doing the splitting they do not need help from Westminster. I dare say there will be those who say this is the Tories fault but I am reminded of the Peoples Front of Judea!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

The days of the Tooting Popular Front, the Battle of Maybury St…

I still have the photographs, twenty odd perfectly good houses demolished to make way for a hospital car park. Cops, council heavies and private security heavies throwing people and their chattels onto the street…

Last edited 9 months ago by Mab Meirion

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