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Plaid Cymru to stand against Rhondda MP Chris Bryant if he is elected speaker

21 Oct 2019 3 minute read
Chris Bryant. Official portrait of Chris Bryant – UK Parliament (CC BY 3.0).

Plaid Cymru have said that they will challenge Chris Bryant MP for his seat in the Rhondda if he is elected Speaker of the House of Commons.

The current speaker, John Bercow, has said that he is stepping down at the end of the month.

The Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative Party have a long-running convention that they do not challenge the Commons Speaker in a General Election.

However, Plaid Cymru have stood against a speaker in the past – George Thomas in Cardiff West at the 1979 election.

In a statement released by Rhondda Assembly Member Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru said: “If Chris Bryant is elected speaker of the House of Commons, Plaid Cymru will not be following the convention that a speaker is elected unopposed.

“The Rhondda is not Buckingham, the constituency of the current speaker John Bercow. The Rhondda has some serious social issues that need sorting out and need the attention of a dedicated, full-time MP.

“The Rhondda can ill-afford to be represented by a parliamentarian more concerned with pomp than poverty.

“The people of the Rhondda should not be denied a say on who represents them at Westminster while so many levers of power are retained by the UK Government.

“The Rhondda deserves to choose who their next MP is; Plaid Cymru will ensure that there is a choice at the next General Election if Chris Bryant is elected as Speaker in the House of Commons.”

The former Church of England Vicar is one of nine MPs thought to be interested in the role of Speaker.


Chris Bryant was heavily criticised over the weekend after saying that MPs should receive money for childcare when Parliament sits on a Saturday.

He said that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) should consider financial provisions to cover the cost of childcare when MPs have to attend Parliament on a Saturday.

“It’s very inconvenient for many people who have children,” he said. “Unfortunately, the nursery is not able to be open to make sure there is childcare provided for honourable members.

“Would it not be incumbent upon IPSA to make financial provision so the cost of childcare can at least be met for members?”

Chris Bryant does not have children himself and said he was speaking on behalf of others.

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Max Wallis
3 years ago

Why no confidence that a Plaid Candidate would be able to defeat Chris Bryant? Admittedly Plaid has gone backwards since Leanne Wood won the Assembly seat. But with the help of Brexit and Tory voters, there should be a good chance of winning this challenge. Does Plaid’s hesitancy reflect a continuing refusal to reach tactical understandings with anti-Labour parties – such as when Leanne fluffed the opportunity to challenge Carwyn Jones as First Minister?

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
3 years ago
Reply to  Max Wallis

Plaid “fluffing” is now a default condition – if in doubt, “fluff”, if your confidence fails you, “fluff”, if LibDems offer any kind of “deal”, double back flip and “fluff”.

Seriously if the London crowd select Bryant as Speaker that should serve as a “get out quick” signal to Plaid, SNP and the N.Irish. Man is a total waste of space and would serve as a reliable litmus test of how low the AngloBrit system has sunk.

3 years ago

This will be an absolute litmus test for Plaid Cymru’s credibility in the Valleys. By no means an open goal, but a good chance to make an inroad. Make the most of it!

Jonathan Edwards
3 years ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

Yes, indeed. But I worry for 2 very big reasons
1. Plaid have expelled McEvoy, ex-Labour, very good on streets, cares about and understands working-class areas. Could have taught Plaid how getting votes actually happens
2. Policy: take housing. Voters aspire to buy council houses. Plaid clutch their pearls and say “Oh, Thatcher!”. But it isn’t. You can use the funds for more council houses (unlike Thatcher). McEvoy policy. That, and nearly beating Ms.Wood, got him sent to Coventry.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
3 years ago

Sadly, clutching one’s pearls has become a common behaviour among Plaid’s leadership team while they try to second guess what the LibDems or other “worthy” potential allies might ask of them.

Jill o the South
Jill o the South
3 years ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

I’d like to see you clutching your pearls ‘Dafis’

Jac and Jill
Went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jac fell down
And broke his crown,
And Jill gave him a right old ‘swadan’ just to make sure innit.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
3 years ago

you really must try harder ! Bit of originality might improve the offer, copying an old English rhyme just ain’t up to scratch.

Jonathon Gammond
Jonathon Gammond
3 years ago

The role of the Speaker is to ensure that members of Parliament are able to fulfill their duties as representatives of the people and as members of the legislature against an often over-powerful executive. The idea that this role is about pomp rather than the workings of our democracy shows an almost total ignorance of history, not least the past three years. (See the reign of Charles I and ever since). You could easily make the case that the current speaker has done as much for the constituents of all 650 plus constituencies as their own MPs, when it has… Read more »

Brian Williams
Brian Williams
3 years ago

Although I have never supported Plaid and have always thought of Leanne Wood as one of the weakest and most ineffective politicians in modern times ……. I totally agree with her comments and her intent to challenge Chris Bryant. 100% behind her on this one …… never thought I would live to see the day.

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