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Plaid Cymru’s handling of Jonathan Edwards case ‘extremely messy’ says Welsh politics expert

14 Aug 2022 4 minute read
Jonathan Edwards MP

Plaid Cymru’s handling of the Jonathan Edwards affair has been “extremely messy” an expert in Welsh politics has said.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones who has written a book on Plaid Cymru’s historical development said that Plaid Cymru had struggled with internal disciplinary matters over the last decade.

Yesterday Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards has announced that he wouldn’t be rejoining Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Group.

He was banned from the party for 12 months in 2020 after receiving a warning from the police about an assault on his wife, and he has sat as an independent MP in Westminster ever since, but had the whip restored this week.

But in a statement issued today Jonathan Edwards said that “it is with deep regret that I announce that I will not be re-joining the Plaid Cymru Westminster group to allow a period of calm reflection”.

He also added that “over the past two years there have been periods when I have felt suicidal as my personal and professional life crumbled and I was offered no safeguarding by the party”.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price also put out a statement to say: “My firm belief is that Jonathan Edwards cannot continue to represent Plaid Cymru in Westminster. He should resign immediately.”

But speaking on Huw Edwards’ Radio Cymru programme, Richard Wyn Jones, who is the Director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, said that the party’s small size and the fact that everyone knew each other made it harder to handle such issues effectively.

“The whole thing is extremely sad of course,” he said. “That’s the starting point – what has happened is terrible.

“All political parties – not just Plaid Cymru – have big problems with internal discipline procedures. Because you have institutions acting in a quasi-judicious role where they do not have the resources or the knowledge to do that in a very effective way.

“It’s striking how often they do get themselves into deep waters. And of course in the case of Plaid Cymeru, a small party where people know each other, these things almost always become acrimonious.

He added: “I don’t know what has been going on behind the scenes. It all appears to be extremely messy. If it was Adam Price’s opinion that there was no way back, I don’t know if that had been aired behind the scenes before. I don’t know enough – it appears to be extremely messy. And extremely damaging, as these things tend to be.

“And of course, Plaid Cymru over the past few years has had some rather traumatic experiences with internal discipline processes turning very acrimonious.”

‘Impossible’

Jonathan Edwards’ statement yesterday came after Plaid Cymru said that they are “considering carefully” the implications of a statement by his wife.

Emma Edwards had told BBC Wales that she was “appalled and disappointed” that Plaid Cymru has reinstated Jonathan Edwards as an MP for the party.

Plaid Cymru’s National Executive Committee had recommended not to re-admit the MP but said that they had since taken “further procedural advice” and restored the whip to him.

In an article for Nation.Cymru Plaid Cymru’s Communications Director Siân Gwenllian MS said that the issue was that the party’s disciplinary procedures did not sufficiently differentiate between ordinary members and members who had been elected to positions of influence, and so Jonathan Edwards could automatically resume his title of Plaid MP.

But in a further statement, Plaid Cymru then said that they were looking again at the matter.

“Plaid Cymru believes the voice of victims of domestic violence must be listened to, and the party is considering carefully the implications of the public statement made by Emma Edwards and what action may need to be taken as a result of her statement,” they said.

Party chair Beca Brown took to Twitter to say: “Diolch Emma am dy ddewrder. Thank you so much for your bravery.”

Former party president Dafydd Iwan also took to social media to say in Welsh that “Emma’s words put a different perspective on things. It seems that reconciliation and love are now irrelevant / impossible, unfortunately.”


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I Humphrys
I Humphrys
1 month ago

One is damned if one does, and otherwise. I’m not a Plaid member.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

One always gets the impression Plaid’s disciplinary procedures are designed on the hoof, with preordained outcomes depending on the political clout the personalities concerned have within the party. The procedures have no integrity or impartiality.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

I think we are all getting a little sick and tired of RWJ and his ‘expert ‘ ‘ comments well outside his cosy academic 🌎 world.

Stick to the day job please 🙏

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard
One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Nah free speech is a thing and he has a point of view worth reading, given his credentials.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

I think it’s the rent a quote aspect rather than the content apart from wondering re definition of ‘ expert ‘ and what experience it is based on.

ARTD is a declared expert on many issues and it’s ‘ experts ‘ that unfortunately we have learnt to
be cautious with.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

I beg to differ. “We” have not learned to be cautious with experts, who come with credentials.
But WE are sick of the shouted opinions of idiots who set themselves up as experts without the work, credentials, qualifications and evidence of expertise.
Michael Gove made the lie that the country is “sick of experts” when all experts were saying that Brexit would harm the UK. It is evident that the experts were correct.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

His ascertian that Adam Price has been totally ineffective and not shown any leadership in this whole shoddy affair is 100% correct. This should have been dealt with 2 years ago when he was cautioned by the police.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

But does this astonishing fact make him, you or me an expert ?

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

I would say that PROFESSOR Wyn Jones, author on books related to the development of Plaid Cymru is a more credible expert than … um … Richard in the comments section.
Much of what he stated may be opinion. But it is informed opinion.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

PC have a track record going back generations of wishing that bad news needs to dealt with by a panel of the ‘ sensible and wise ‘ ( men ) who will Examine Investigste and come up with some well meaning thoughts and lessons to be learnt ‘ a few years down the line….. The 🌎 of this committee culture of the greag and the good has long gone in this high and visible comnunication age. PC’s lack of imterest in the branch, rhanbarth and challenging annual Cynhadledd replaced by the fads of the who ever is the current leader… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Way back they may have had seriously wise men (and a few women) who could be relied upon to arrive at logical workable solutions and their values and discipline extended to their personal conduct. The party has moved on and has become victim of its own fascination with a series of dilettantes and shallow fashionable ideas. Internal conflicts will get worse before there’s any chance of improvement.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago

A sh1t sandwich spring to mind!!

Dafydd Thomas
Dafydd Thomas
1 month ago

So Plaid’s favourite ‘independent academic’ comes to the rescue once again, helping the party push the ‘procedural problems’ line. It won’t wash, Professor. When a majority of Plaid’s national executive voted to restore Edwards’s membership, they did so knowing that he had a criminal conviction for domestic abuse. That wasn’t a messy procedural issue, it was a moral choice. The party has been hiding behind legalities and procedures for too long on this issue. As I said in a previous comment, based on Mrs Edwards’s statement, Plaid now have enough to suspend her abusive husband’s membership a second time. They… Read more »

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