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Plaid Cymru faces legal claim from feminist group it banned

17 Apr 2024 5 minute read
FiLiA CEO Lisa-Marie Taylor

Martin Shipton

Solicitors acting for a leading feminist organisation have served a legal claim against Plaid Cymru following a decision of the party’s National Executive Committee to revoke the group’s booking of a stall at its Spring conference.

FiLiA, a gender critical women’s rights charity that hosts the largest annual grassroots feminist conference in Europe, was told that some of its positions, for example on trans rights, were “potentially contrary to the party’s values”.

FiLiA CEO Lisa-Marie Taylor said the group had booked a stand at the conference in Caernarfon, hoping to use the opportunity to talk to delegates and Plaid Cymru politicians about a range of grassroots campaigns they support. But the booking was cancelled with less than 48 hours notice.

Cardiff

Ms Taylor said at the time of the ban: “In 2022 FiLiA spent a year in Cardiff in the lead up to an event that saw over 1,500 women from Wales and beyond attend to discuss topics ranging from family courts to police-perpetrated abuse, the environment, migration and motherhood.

Throughout 2022 FiLiA supported local women to learn to swim, campaign and make banners. We launched the international Hague Mothers project and held sessions in fundraising, art for women with mental health issues and more.”

The message FiLiA received from Plaid said: “While there are many issues and campaigns on which I expect we would agree, it has come to my attention that some of FiLiA’s positions are potentially contrary to the party’s values – for instance on trans rights. We welcome robust debate, but must balance this with the need for our delegates from all backgrounds to feel as though the party conference is a safe space for them to express their identity comfortably.

“I regret therefore that we will be unable to welcome you to Caernarfon this week. I’m sorry for the late notice.”

Ms Taylor said: “FiLiA volunteers are surprised and disappointed that they have been excluded in this way. Bags were packed, plans had been made.”

A FiLiA volunteer and Plaid Cymru member, who asked not to be named because she said the party’s decision had made her feel unwelcome and unsafe, said: “This is hard to take in. Prosiect Pawb (the damning report on misogyny and bullying within Plaid) said ‘The NEC must be confident that actions taken in the light of Prosiect Pawb’s findings and recommendations will be effective in enabling permanent, non-reversible measures to detoxify a culture of harassment, bullying and misogyny and to make Plaid truly and visibly welcoming to women.’ “How does this decision fit with that? I’ve never felt less welcome in my own party. I feel bullied and excluded. What is it about FiLiA’s values that clashes with Plaid’s?”

Values

Ms Taylor said: “There was no attempt to seek clarity around the values of FiLia at any time. FiLiA has asked Plaid Cymru for an explanation, putting the following questions to them:

* On what specific basis is this decision being made? The term ‘potentially contrary to party values’ is vague and we would like to understand exactly what is meant by this.

* Referring to ‘trans rights’ and the need to have a ‘safe space’ – if those with a protected belief in innate gender are welcome, why are those with the opposite but equally protected belief not? This appears on the face of it to be unlawful discrimination.

* What measures are Plaid Cymru putting in place to ensure that ‘delegates from all backgrounds’ (which includes women with gender-critical views) ‘feel as though the party conference is a safe space for them’”?

Ms Taylor said: “A response from Plaid Cymru failed to answer FiLiA’squestions, simply restating that ‘We are unable to host organisations who have views that are contrary to the party’s values.’

“This position seems strange, in the light of the fact that in recent years many organisations that do not share all of Plaid Cymru’s values have been able to have a presence at the conference – including a conference dinner hosted by Heathrow Airport, which doesn’t exactly sit well with Plaid’s green credentials. In the past the party has been prepared to engage with those with whom they may not agree, in the spirit of open debate.

“It is unclear how a women’s charity such as ours could possibly contravene the ‘values’ of the party. This ban doesn’t seem to sit well with the party leadership’s repeated public commitments to root out misogyny. We will be pressing for proper answers to the questions we’ve raised. And we are consulting our lawyers, as we believe that this ban may be unlawful. It is certainly unfair and unjust.”

Now FiLiA has confirmed that it has instructed Levins Solicitors of Liverpool to pursue a claim against Plaid Cymru for unlawful discrimination. Plaid has a month to respond to the claim.

We sought a statement from Plaid Cymru but the party did not reply to our request.


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Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Oh dear – Yes Cymru
Now – Plaid Cymru
and off to Liverpool for legal support !
Says it All

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Lerpwl prif ddinas Cymru.

Ali Morris
Ali Morris
1 month ago

It’s about time that political parties in Wales were held to account for their abysmal treatment of women who believe biological sex matters. Plaid said it welcomes robust debate but this is bviously only on its terms. Women have no faith in Plaid Cymru or Labour in Wales when they are excluded from debate about their own lives. I hope FiLiA takes them to the cleaners on this.

anon
anon
1 month ago

Are Plaid deliberately self destructing in an election year? It managed to keep its rampant misogyny under the radar all this time until…..well it couldn’t any longer. Now they’re digging the hole even deeper by deplatforming Filia, a global women’s rights organisation. Prosiect Pawb brought down Adam Price who, in Y Cymro in December 2021 said “Mae natur cydweithio wrth wraidd ysbryd ein cenedl”. Except when Plaid sees women in front of it it seems. Thank you Plaid for exposing your misogyny and sexism to the whole world. Now the women of Cymru, and the men that want to see,… Read more »

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
1 month ago

The idea of ‘safe spaces’ is being horribly abused to disenfranchse anyone considered to have opposing or even just differing views. Adults are allowed to have their ideas, opinions and values challenged, and even their feelings hurt. If those with opposing positions are excluded from debate, then there is no debate!

I am finding it hard to hold on to any support for Plaid that I ever had.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steffan ap Huw
hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

Plaid is a basket case due to the warped priorities of its leadership. One dud is bad but enduring a series of them is making the party beyond salvage.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
29 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

What are Plaids priorities? Is it defending the interests of rural Wales? Is it independence? It feels like they are trying to be the party to everyone.

Last edited 29 days ago by Swn Y Mor
hdavies15
hdavies15
29 days ago
Reply to  Swn Y Mor

I wish they were a bit more of a party to everyone but their abstract interests and antics make them more like a party for very few. Now that V Gething has declared himself focussed on the things that matter in our day to day lives Plaid should have a field day gutting his regime’s performance in those areas. Labour’s serial “iterations” as he called them have been constantly defective yet Plaid has moved itself away from challenging their achievements or lack of.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
29 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I can think of only two reasons for the lack of scutiny.

1, Rhun and the leadership are incompetent with their communications and strategy.

2, They want to be in Welsh Labours good books because unless something drastic happens, they will be called upon once again to prop them up.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
29 days ago

Another non response to Nation Cymru from Plaid Cymru. I hope this does not become a regular occurrence as accountability in Wales seems to be becoming non existent. As for the article itself although there is a focus on ‘trans rights’ it is clear that this was not the only position that Plaid had an issue with (‘some of FiLiA’s positions are potentially contrary to the party’s values-for instance on trans rights’.) Maybe Nation Cymru could try again and ask Plaid Cymru what other of FiLiA’s positions did it disagree with?

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