Plaid Cymru are preparing to take the Electoral Commission to court over their decision to register the name of former Plaid AM Neil McEvoy’s new Welsh National Party.
Plaid Cymru are calling on the commission to revoke the registration of the name Welsh National Party or complete a further review of the registration process.
In February the Electoral Commission decided not to allow the Welsh National Party to use the Welsh-language name Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru.
It decided that the Welsh language name, despite being a direct translation, was too close to the name of the already-existing parties and could confuse voters.
But Plaid Cymru is now asking why the Electoral Commission allowed the Welsh National Party to use the English name.
A source said it did not make sense to keep the English language registration having rejected translation.
Plaid Cymru are also concerned that the Welsh language name ‘Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru’ would come into common use as a direct translation despite the Electoral Commission’s decision not to officially validate it.
Neil McEvoy was originally elected for Plaid Cymru to represent the South Wales Central region in 2016 before being expelled in 2017. He withdrew his application to re-join Plaid Cymru in July of last year and registered the new Welsh National Party in January of this year.
In response, a spokesperson for the Welsh National Party said that Plaid Cyru were simply trying to “save their own political skins”.
“The fact is that the Electoral Commission has already accepted the Welsh National Party as our name, which was further confirmed after an official review,” the spokesperson said.
“Now we have a WNP Assembly Member in the National Assembly and Councillors in the north and south of Wales. People across the country are joining our exciting new political movement, which is the breath of fresh air Wales needed.
“The simple truth is Plaid Cymru makes a habit of trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted and is doing so once again.
“This ill-judged court application is proof of panic amongst Plaid Cymru AMs, who prior to the WNP, had enjoyed a cosy existence in the Bubble, acting as Labour’s little helpers. But now there’s a new national Party in Wales that will not be pushed around.
“Having already been fined £29,000 by the Electoral Commission for not properly declaring its donations, Plaid wants to risk even more of its members’ money taking the Electoral Commission to court. Rather than obsessing over what the WNP is doing, the best thing Plaid Cymru can do is to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
The Chair of Plaid Cymru, Alun Ffred Jones, emailed the party’s supporters with the following message:
“For nearly a century, Plaid Cymru has stood out in our nation’s history as Wales’s national party,” he said.
“Recently, a new party has been formed under the name “Welsh National Party / Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru” and has received Electoral Commission approval to register the name.
“Plaid Cymru has received legal advice which has led us to challenge the Electoral Commission’s decision which, to our minds, has been reached as a result of flawed and unlawful processes.
“For example, it appears that the Electoral Commission failed to consider Wales’ linguistic status nor the fact that it is impossible to register a name in English without that leading to the use of the corresponding Welsh translation.
“The timing is a matter of regret given the circumstances of the Coronavirus crisis, but this was a factor beyond our control due to the requirement that the process must commence within a strict time limit.
“Plaid Cymru will always protect the interests of our movement, including its historic name and its significance.
“We are confident that the Electoral Commission will reserve this decision and in the meantime, we will continue to focus our energies on supporting our communities and putting forward bold ideas for how to respond to the current crisis.”