Plaid councillor leaves party over ‘unjust selection process’
A Plaid Cymru town councillor has announced that he’s leaving the party after a row over the selection of the Westminster General Election candidate in Llanelli last year.
His resignation is the continuation of a row that saw two members of the town’s Plaid Cymru branch suspended in October.
The disagreement concerns the selection of Cardiff-based Mari Arthur in last year’s election, who came third behind the Conservatives and Labour candidates.
Sean Rees won the local hustings vote for the Plaid nomination in April, but the party centrally ruled that he was not eligible to stand.
He has now announced that he is leaving the party.
“It is with great sadness, regret and disillusionment that I announce my resignation as a Plaid Cymru Councillor and Member, as of today,” he said.
“I will now be serving the communities that I represent as a non Party-aligned Councillor on Llanelli Town Council – those communities are and always will be my priority.
“This decision has not been taken lightly but follows the unjust selection process which resulted in the imposition of a candidate at the 2017 Westminster Election in Llanelli.”
He also said that “the conduct of a few individuals against me, my family and many others over the past year which has been very worrying and distressing”.
Two of the suspended members, Gwyn Hopkins and Meilyr Hughes, were among 26 local members who accused Mari Arthur of rule breaches.
The BBC had previously reported that Sean Rees, Plaid Cymru’s local press officer, has been blocked from a party Twitter account and forced to work from a library.
Sean Rees said that members’ complaints had been “completely ignored by the Party’s leadership and not addressed in accordance with the Party’s official disciplinary procedures”.
“The principles of due process, natural justice and freedom of speech must be fully respected and are very important to me,” he said.
“I’ve only ever wanted the best for the Party and the community.
“Of course, the Party is bigger than any one individual and I step away with nothing but best wishes for all those friends across Wales and I thank all of you for your support over the years, and most notably in recent times.
“I’m sure you can all understand though when I say there is only so much negativity that a person can take.”
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