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Live: Adam Price wins Plaid Cymru leadership election

28 Sep 2018 10 minute read
Leanne Wood, Rhun ap Iorwerth and Adam Price



Here are Adam Price’s remarks after winning the contest.

Speaking about his fellow candidates, he said:

“We three were friends before this campaign, during the campaign and remain friends and comrades here now today.  We have stood not against each other, but alongside each other, as servants of the party and the country and the people we love.

“In the coming months we must all show leadership, and Leanne and Rhun’s undoubted strengths, passions and merits will be absolutely essential as we face this next chapter in our history.  I look forward to serving alongside them in the Government of Wales that we will form together in 2021.”

Addressing party members after the election declaration, he said:

“I am profoundly humbled and honoured to be the nominee of this party as First Minister of Wales.

“Our time has come – and with it positive, dynamic, permanent change to Wales and its politics.

“The fate of our nation is a shared responsibility.  We must all play a full part.  We have to realise that we are the ones we have been waiting for.

“We must become the hope of those without hope. The disillusioned, the disenfranchised.   Those who believe they cannot achieve their dreams; that we cannot ever become the Wales we need to be.

“Our message to the Welsh people must be simple: Yes Wales Can.

“We can be prosperous. We can be confident. We can be self-governing and successful.

“Our dream will not be deferred, our future will not be denied, because it is our destiny – the next great chapter in Wales’ story.

“It will not be written for us in the marbled halls of Whitehall and Westminster, but by us in the streets and alleyways of Wales, because our time for change has come.

“We’re on our way – and we won’t wait another day.

“Together we will win a New Wales.”


Both Leanne Wood and Rhun ap Iorwerth have used Twitter to congratulate Adam Price. Rhun has also thanked Leanne Wood, saying the party will be “forever grateful for her unstinting work”.


Plaid Cymru’s Vale of Glamorgan Cllr Dr. Ian Johnson has this analysis: “There was a limited analysis of the electorate in an internal election.

“More than half of Plaid members voted for Elin Jones or Dafydd Elis-Thomas in 2012 and probably wouldn’t have switched to Leanne, whereas many of Leanne’s 2012 voters would have Adam Price as #1 preference at any point, 2012 or now.”


South Wales Argus political correspondent Ian Craig says that it is a shock to see Leanne Wood come third, but that she may have “shot herself in the foot” by saying she would stand down if not First Minister in 2021


I mentioned at the start of this blog that the new leader would probably feel it important to reach out to the supporters of the defeated candidate. Adam Price made a point of this in his speech. He thanked Leanne for her work and emphasised that Plaid Cymru would continue to be an inclusive party. He also mentioned that he was proud to be the first openly gay leader of a Welsh political party.


With just 37 extra votes Adam Price could have won the Plaid leadership election outright in the first round, getting 50% of the vote. That’s a big mandate for him.


New Welsh Conservatives leader Paul Davies has congratulated new Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, and once again hinted at the possibility of a partnership in the future.

Adam Price ruled out a coalition with the Conservatives during the leadership election.

“I congratulate Adam Price on being elected as the leader of Plaid Cymru, and look forward to working with him in the Assembly on areas of common interest,” Paul Davies said.

“I hope that Adam realises that Plaid members have now signalled a new direction. This is a clear instruction to end Welsh Labour rule and that they should no longer prop them up.

“I have been consistently clear in not taking anything off the table when it comes to putting the Welsh Conservatives in government because my priority and mission is to provide a real, genuine alternative to this failing Welsh Labour administration, and change Wales for the better.”


The Plaid Cymru group of MPS, three of which backed Adam Price (and one Rhun ap Iorwerth), have reacted to the announcement:

“This election has been energising and I look forward to working with Adam Price to take the fight to the Labour Welsh Government in Cardiff and the Tories in Westminster,” Liz Saville Roberts said.

“Between our membership and supporters there is a spirit for change: to raise confidence and ambition, to perceive independence as the natural protection against looming threats, and as an assertion of faith in a future of our own making.

“Evidently, no single individual can achieve this alone, and so with renewed vigour we must come together to create a unified voice and vision.

“Now more than ever Wales needs great leaders. I believe that Adam Price will deliver the leadership we need at this crucial time.”


The full votes were:

First round

Rhun ap Iorwerth: 1,613

Adam Price: 2,863

Leanne Wood: 1,286

Second round

Rhun ap Iorwerth: +348

Adam Price +618

Final result

Rhun ap Iorwerth: 1,961

Adam Price: 3,481


The result wasn’t a surprise but who came 2nd and 3rd is.

Adam Price came 1st with 3,481 votes and Rhun ap Iorwerth second with 1,961, on the second vote.

Leanne Wood came third on the first vote with 1,286 votes, meaning that it was her vote that transferred to the other two.

That’s a big victory for Adam Price but quite a shock for Leanne Wood supporters.


Everyone seems to be hearing the same thing, which is that Plaid Cymru has a new leader, and that leader is very likely to be Adam Price. The incumbent Leanne Wood has lost the race to retain her leadership position.


Adam Price is the new Plaid Cymru leader.


Around 6,000 members have voted – 71%. Membership is around the 8,000 mark.

Journalist Aled ap Dafydd has ‘called it’ – Adam Price will be the new leader. He wouldn’t say that unless he was completely sure.


There’s a notice at the Novotel saying that there’s a fire alarm test at 1.15pm. Hopefully the leader’s speech will be over by then!


Interesting. ITV’s Adrian Masters says that he heard a large number of SNP voters (around 500) joined Plaid Cymru before the start of the contest. That might benefit Leanne Wood since she has a high profile close working relationship with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

There would be a wee bit of irony if independence supporting Scots changed the result of a leadership vote in another country!


The need for a second vote does make the possibility of an Adam Price or Rhun ap Iorwerth victory slightly more likely. It means that over 50% of Plaid Cymru members want a change of leader, and Adam and Rhun second preference votes could, therefore, be more likely to go to each other.


Counting has gone to a second round. That would mean that no candidate got 50% on the first vote – which would have been an unexpected landslide had it happened.

We won’t know who is 3rd – and has been eliminated – until the result is announced.

The result is now expected in an hour’s time. This suggests that it’s close.


Unless a recount is required the counting should be coming to an end over the next 30 minutes or so, if it hasn’t already. Someone somewhere probably already has a very good idea who has won this contest.

Just as a reminder, the press was due at the Novotel Hotel in Cardiff at 11am and the result is due to be announced around 12-ish.


Whoever wins today will be expected to be humble in victory and say warm words about their opponent, and reach out to the supporters of the defeated candidates.

While the leadership candidates have always been careful not to attack each other and emphasise what they have in common, some of their supporters have vented very strong feelings, particularly on social media.

If Leanne Wood wins she will no doubt be keen to stress that she has listened to those who backed the rival candidates.

If Adam Price or Rhun ap Iorwerth win they will no doubt want to make it clear that Plaid won’t be veering too far from Leanne Wood’s inclusive, socialist vision.

The new (or old) leader will be keen that any hurt caused by the contest doesn’t develop into a long-term cleavage within the party.

Some daft things will no doubt be written on social media in the immediate aftermath whatever the result, of course, but if the winner plays his or her cards right all the steam could be safely vented over the weekend.


If I was forced to bet on it, I would have Rhun ap Iorwerth winning around 25% of the votes in the first round, with both Adam Price and Leanne Wood fairly even on around 37% each.

I would then expect more of Rhun’s votes to transfer to Adam giving him a victory in the region of 60% of the second round vote.

I must not stress that I am not a betting man, however! A Leanne Wood victory would be no surprise at all.

A Rhun ap Iorwerth victory would be a surprise, but I know many that are confident that he can do it.


This is an AV election, meaning that unless one candidate gets 50% of the first preference votes in the first round (which seems unlikely) one candidate will drop out and their second preference votes will transfer to the other two candidates.

Keeping that in mind, many have predicted that Adam Price is the favourite to win today, as he seems more likely to benefit from second votes if either Rhun ap Iorwerth or Leanne Wood go out in the first round.

However, there are a few scenarios that could lead to a different outcome. Leanne could win the first round on the basis that over 50% of Plaid voters are happy with her performance as leader. Alternatively, she could be sufficiently far ahead in the first round that Adam can’t catch her in the second.

It’s also possible that support for Rhun ap Iorwerth has been significantly understated. If Adam Price goes out in the first round many of his votes could transfer to Rhun, handing the Ynys Môn victory.


So who is going to win?

That’s a difficult question, as there is no way to poll all of Plaid’s membership. We are therefore dependent on online polls and suggestions based on data collected by the candidates’ campaigns.

Neither are of course particularly dependable because online polls tend to capture a younger audience and non-Plaid members, while candidates phoning members and asking how they are voting is bound to produce some skewed results.

So although we can make an educated guess, we may well be in for a big shock!


Counting has begun in the Plaid Cymru leadership race with the result expected to be announced sometime after 12pm.

Either the incumbent Leanne Wood or her challengers Rhun ap Iorwerth and Adam Price will be confirmed as leader of the party.

Counting began at 9am this morning and is expected to conclude around 11.30 unless the result is too close and requires a recount.

The announcement will be made at the Novotel in Cardiff, where the leadership race started at the beginning of August.

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