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Plaid Cymru row over House of Lords nominations

05 Dec 2023 4 minute read
Carmen Smith

Martin Shipton

A row has broken out in Plaid Cymru after an internal election for nominees to the House of Lords saw a lobbyist for a controversial wind power company elevated to first place on the list – even though she was decisively beaten in a members’ vote by former MP Elfyn Llwyd.

Although the voting figures haven’t been disclosed, Nation.Cymru understands that Carmen Smith, 27, who works for Bute Energy, received around 70 votes while Mr Llwyd got about 180 votes. A third candidate – longstanding party member Ann Griffith – secured around 40 votes.

The result was announced in an email sent to party members by chief executive Owen Roberts on the afternoon of December 5 which said: “Last week, members took part in the process to elect nominees to become Plaid Cymru representatives in the House of Lords.

“As returning officer, I am pleased to announce the results are as follows and are in accordance with the temporary orders passed by the NEC (National Executive Committee) to promote the representation of women: 1 Carmen Smith; 2 Elfyn Llwyd; 3 Ann Griffith.

“Plaid Cymru has again made a formal request for three representatives in the second chamber as promised since 2007, which would reflect our democratic representation in the House of Commons. We will nominate peers in the order agreed by the party if and when opportunities arise.”

Disgraceful

A longstanding Plaid Cymru member contacted Nation.Cymru and said: “This is disgraceful. I don’t know the actual result of the vote but I would have thought that Elfyn was way out in front. The fact that the National Exec has imposed a woman on top of the list was not explained at any time in the introduction to the virtual hustings that I attended last week.”

A senior party source told us: “This all stems from a decision by the NEC to make sure that a woman was given top position, regardless of how many votes were cast. It’s quite farcical that Elfyn Llwyd was way in the lead, yet came second. It’s surely a travesty of democracy. He has a wealth of Parliamentary experience, while Carmen hasn’t even been elected as a councillor.

“There are no guarantees that any of the nominees will actually make it to the Lords, but without any experience at all it would take Carmen some time to settle in if she was the only new peer appointed.”

Plaid’s only current peer Lord Dafydd Wigley , 80, is due to retire early in the New Year. At the end of February it will be 50 years since he was first elected as the MP for Caernarfon. He wasn’t available for comment.

Mr Llwyd was the MP for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy and then Dwyfor Meirionnydd from 1992 until 2015. During his time in Parliament he led calls for the stalking of predominantly women to be a specific criminal offence. He left the Commons to pursue a career as a barrister.

Chief of staff

Before going to work for Bute Energy, Ms Smith was chief of staff of the Plaid Cymru Senedd group. She graduated with a law degree from Bangor University in 2016, after which she was the deputy president of NUS Wales, including four months when she was acting president.

Her Linked-In profile says: “Carmen is an experienced strategist, campaigner, and advisor. A former chief of staff in the Welsh Parliament and former political Adviser in the European Parliament. She has also worked in international development and was trusted to manage key relationships globally. Her various roles have been based in Cardiff, Brussels and New York City.

“She is currently working in the renewable energy industry in public affairs. The climate emergency is the most pressing concern of our times. Renewables have an important role to play in both decarbonising energy and bringing economic growth to communities.”

Bute Energy’s plans to build a network of wind turbines and pylons across mid Wales have been opposed by a number of campaign groups.

Ambiguous

Plaid Cymru has had an ambiguous approach towards membership of the House of Lords. Many party activists oppose it on the grounds that it is undemocratic, but the party’s official line now is to engage with it on the grounds that the legislation it passes has an impact on Wales.

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said: “Plaid Cymru has again made a formal request for three representatives in the second chamber as promised since 2007, which would reflect our democratic representation in the House of Commons.

“We will nominate peers in the order agreed by the party if and when opportunities arise. We cannot publicise voting figures from internal elections.”


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GARETH WESTACOTT
GARETH WESTACOTT
2 months ago

Oh, dear! Plaid has been well and truly infiltrated, hasn’t it?

wayne
wayne
2 months ago

Democracy Lost, Honesty Dumped, Integrity Shattered. No Trust.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
2 months ago

So basically choose the woman with the highest number of votes and ignore the man. Although I guess Elfyn Llwyd could always say he identifies as a woman?

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Wow! One post, two biases

Tomi Benn
Tomi Benn
2 months ago

Plaid should NOT be sending representatives to the House of Lords! It’s an institution that needs to be eliminated at the first opportunity. The SNP do not send anyone there and Plaid should do likewise.
Additionally, EVERYONE in Cymru should be at the forefront of a campaign to get the 26 ENGLISH bishops out of the legislative process. Britain and Iran are the only two “countries” that have clerics in their legislatures.

Alun
Alun
2 months ago
Reply to  Tomi Benn

Yes the English Second Chamber needs total reformation (and the Hereditary Peers and Tory party donors come before the relatively harmless clerics on my chucking out list) but, right now, wherever decisions are being made about Wales, Plaid should be involved.

Mawkernewek
2 months ago
Reply to  Alun

The perverse thing with Hereditary Peers is they are actually the only ones who are elected, if only by other hereditary peers.
In the past, if a hereditary peer somehow managed to have left-wing views, they would be be able to sit, but now of course because they’re elected by other hereditary peers, the class interest of the aristocracy will conspire to keep them out of the chamber.

Keith Parry
Keith Parry
2 months ago

Look at this nonsense.Why is Plaid Cymru sending people to the House of Lords? Why send this women who has worked on the Anti-Welsh agenda of covering our country with wind turbines to make profits for foreign owned co0mpanies. Plaid Cymru really do not have a clue

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Keith Parry

Wind turbines are not an anti-Welsh agenda

Erisian
Erisian
2 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Depends who owns them.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Companies often operate in counties other than the one they originated in.

Non Davies
Non Davies
2 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

energy and profits flowing out of Wales…

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Non Davies

Someone called them the land and granted them planning permission. Local people maintain and operate them

Crwtyddol
Crwtyddol
2 months ago

Bute energy are the ones, I’m sure, that are pushing for the pylons in Dyffryn Tywi

Gaynor
Gaynor
14 days ago
Reply to  Crwtyddol

Yes they are, environmental vandals not ists

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
2 months ago

Plaid is a party on the up.It knows what it wants and how to get it, it is always the best person for the job as long as they fit the right agenda.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Rhddwen y Sais

Yes, having more women in the party in senior roles (to redress a long injustice) is an “agenda”.
Nice one Martin! You’ve roused them again.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
2 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

If any political party needs proper representation then what’s wrong with representation from people of a working class background?
Not box ticking affirmative action.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

How very “all lives matter” of you

Gaynor
Gaynor
14 days ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Plaid is full of women in senior roles and has been for years. Ann Griffiths would have been a better choice

Arfon Jones
Arfon Jones
2 months ago

Personally I think Carmen Ria Smith is a great choice to represent us in the HoL. Whilst the HoL is what we’ve got then we need to work within the system and need to influence in whatever legislative chamber we are in.

Richard E
Richard E
2 months ago
Reply to  Arfon Jones

A fair point Arfon ✔️

Are you in or out the tent ⛺️ currently?

wayne
wayne
2 months ago
Reply to  Arfon Jones

She lost the vote Arfon. First past the election of MS’s and MP’s and then throw the dice, still not happy then toss a coin. What was the point of having a vote. PC A Party moving towards a dangerous dictatorship.

G Williams
G Williams
2 months ago

Whilst Carmen Smith may well be a worthy person to represent Plaid Cymru in the Lords, if what is revealed in Martin Shipton’s article about her mode of election is true it is truly disgraceful and a negation of democracy.

Gary H
Gary H
2 months ago

When Plaid start talking about people not women and men, we may get back to being a successful party. The feministas just turn balanced party members off. Carmen will be great I’m sure and I have no problem with women in post, but fiddling votes is no way forward. And while I’m at it, Ann Griffith’s blurb was a disgrace. The prime agenda priority for a PC baron/ess is Wales not any other social agenda, worthy as that might be.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Gary H

“The feministas?” You CAN disagree with something without throwing slurs at women you know? You should try it. Being respectful might eventually give you the opportunity to actually meet one that isn’t your mother

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
2 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

You might be projecting a bit there. The term ‘feminista’ surely refers to an ideology, rather than sex?

And then, to slight someone for perceived disrespect, and in the next breath insult them blatantly smacks of the ugliest hypocrisy. You ought to hold yourself to the standards you evidently expect of others.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

Oh here we go! Not long ago you lot were “protecting” us from those scary transgender women you all hate. Now you’re attacking us.
Men really are the worst. If Zi hadn’t found one of the few good ones I might have tried lesbianism

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
2 months ago

There is no shadow of doubt that Plaid will win Independence for Cymru, they have their finger on the pulse of Wales and will demolish the red wall.

wayne
wayne
2 months ago
Reply to  Rhddwen y Sais

In your dreams Rhddwen, while PC suck up to Labour in the Senedd, They have the finger on the self destruct button.

Royston Jones
2 months ago

How many Labour and Plaid insiders has Bute put on the payroll, or paid in in other ways?

But you’ve got to hand it to Bute – they realised how corrupt Wales is, and just joined in.

Richard E
Richard E
2 months ago
Reply to  Royston Jones

We are so lucky 🍀 to have your usual measured input Royston 😎

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
2 months ago

This idiotic and disgraceful behaviour is enough to deter me from voting PC or Lab. With the Tories also not an option, it narrows the options considerably.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
2 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

I agree with you Steffan.I may even consider voting for The Monster Ravin Looney Party.

wayne
wayne
2 months ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Johnny, What about Jonathan Edwards Independent.

wayne
wayne
2 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

Consider voting GWLAD Steffan. A refreshing honest party for Welsh Independence.

Richard E
Richard E
2 months ago

I hope this is NOT a tilt in the direction of party managers and nameless others
by passing democratic members votes. 🗳️

Perhaps even more concerning is the ultra low turnout?

5 per cent ?

Christine Jones
Christine Jones
2 months ago

This is extremely worrying. First off, Plaid should never nominate anyone for the unelected Lords. Second, it displays how deeply the climate fanatics have infiltrated our political parties. Bute Energy is the Dominic Cummings of Welsh politics. Plaid must soon decide whether they are lapdogs of the British State or not.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
2 months ago

I believe that fair representation from a Politician should come from someone who has done a proper job and experience of the real world.
Before Elfyn went into politics he was very experienced in The Legal profession.
Reading on Carmen’s experience other than a very short time at Bute energy there is nothing to state about a job outside of politics.

Ankora Pankor
Ankora Pankor
2 months ago

The small percentage of the electorate that prioritise their culture, language and communities when voting are treated as fools. Politically we have nowhere else to go, so Plaid just takes our support for granted and makes incomprehensible decisions like this one. I simply assumed as a member that Elfyn Llwyd would be nominated to the Lords. There are strong arguments for refusing to nominate to the HoL or sitting in the HoP, but if we send MP’s we might as well have people who put Wales first in the HoL as well. It doesn’t make sense to nominate someone at… Read more »

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
2 months ago

Assuming the voting figures are correct, Plaid’s selection procedure for House of Lords candidates was not only grossly disingenuous but outrageous. Unless all the candidates were male, it was absolutely pointless allowing Elfyn Llwyd to enter the competition as he couldn’t possibly win because of Plaid’s rigged policy that the winner must be female irrespective of merit. It is extremely rare for me to agree with the Tories on anything but on this issue I concur with the Senedd Conservatives who favour political selections strictly “on merit”. Favouring women (or men) is clearly incompatible with this principle.

Gwyn
Gwyn
2 months ago

Can someone help me here?
The rules that all candidates agreed to said that the first place would go to the woman with the highest number of votes, irrespective if the man got more.
Why is Elfyn Llwyd having a paddy when he was beaten fair in square in rules he fully understood?

Gwen
Gwen
2 months ago
Reply to  Gwyn

The electorate were never told that a woman would top the list whatever votes were cast. It is a travesty/.

Philip Evans
Philip Evans
2 months ago

Only recently found out about that Elfyn Llwyd didn’t have a chance of being first. There are quite a few women members who aren’t happy with this positive discrimination and that it wasn’t disclosed to members before the vote.

Before I’m criticised I actually put Carmen Smith on my vote but I honestly thought it was a democratic vote to an undemocratic institution.

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