Plaid Cymru ‘betrayed’ over lack of representation in House of Lords says retiring Dafydd Wigley
Plaid Cymru have been “betrayed” by the UK Government over a lack of representation in the House of Lords, Dafydd Wigley has said as he announced his retirement.
He said that the party had been given the impression that three of their number would be given peerages after the 2010 election, to more closely match their three MPs at the time.
Eventually, only Dafydd Wigley himself was elevated to the upper house, a situation he said was very difficult for the party.
The only other Plaid Cymru Lord at the time, Dafydd Elis Thomas, was Llywydd of the Senedd and sat in the Lords as a crossbencher but took the Plaid Cymru whip in 2012.
Dafydd Wigley told Radio Cymru: “Trying to run a one-person party in a 700-member chamber, with the whole range of policies, much of it relevant to Wales, is next to impossible, and the workload is going to be significant.
“There is a limit to how much one person can try to row such a boat”.
‘Must be elected’
Although opposed to the unelected House of Lords, Plaid Cymru decided to nominate members in 2007 because the Senedd needed the Upper House’s approval to make laws.
But Dafydd Wigley said that Plaid Cymru were then blocked from entering the House of Lords by the previous Labour UK Government.
“According to what Labour members said to me then, Gordon Brown had said ‘over my dead body does any nationalist go into that chamber’.
“And so from 2007 until 2010 we were blocked, they refused to fulfil the promise”.
Dafydd Wigley said that he was retiring after 10 years in the House of Lords, and at the age of 79, but felt that Plaid Cymru representation there should continue.
“In my opinion, if we have members here we should have as many members as there are in the House of Commons,” he said.
“And I would hope that those would be elected by the party so that there is some democratic basis.
“But in the fullness of time if there is to be a future for the House of Lords it must be elected to give our voice some kind of strength”.
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