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