Rhun ap Iorwerth announced as new lead of Plaid Cymru
Rhun ap Iorwerth has been officially announced as the new leader of Plaid Cymru.
Mr ap Iorwerth, who represents Ynys Mon (Anglesey) in the Senedd, was named as successor to Adam Price during a press conference in Cardiff Bay on Friday.
It follows the resignation of Adam Price last month after a report found a culture of sexual harassment, bullying and misogyny and made 82 recommendations to “detoxify” the party.
Nominations for leader of the party closed on Friday morning, with Mr ap Iorwerth the only confirmed candidate.
Owen Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s chief executive officer, confirmed Mr ap Iorwerth as leader during the press conference at St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay.
Mr ap Iorwerth, a married father-of-three, is a former BBC journalist who was deputy leader of Plaid Cymru under Mr Price.
The fluent Welsh speaker announced his candidacy in a video on Twitter saying the party finds itself at a “crossroads” and faces “serious challenges” but that Wales was on a “journey to independence”.
He added: “Now is the time to unite Plaid Cymru so we can lead the work of building a new future for Wales.”
Born in South Wales, Mr ap Iorwerth grew up on Anglesey and was educated at Ysgol David Hughes and later Cardiff University, where he graduated in Politics and Welsh.
Mr Price’s predecessor, Leanne Wood, publicly said she believed the next leader should be a woman – claiming a female leader would be better placed to deal with issues of misogyny.
However, early in the race two of Mr ap Iorwerth’s potential competitors, Sioned Williams and Sian Gwenllian, announced they would not be standing.
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “It is an honour to have been confirmed today as the Leader of Plaid Cymru, the party that means so much to me. The responsibility isn’t one I take lightly.
“I will lead with passion; I will lead with humility and most importantly I will lead a party which offers a home for everyone who is ambitious about creating a fairer, greener, more prosperous society – a home for those who are already confident or curious about independence, and that is determined to spark that curiosity in others.
“Following a difficult period for the party, I am committed to learning lessons, implementing the recommendations of Project Pawb, and setting new foundations.
“My vision is one of a stronger, fairer economy able to support sustainable public services and allowing Wales to fulfil its real potential.
“Together we can create thriving communities, from Tonteg in the south Wales valleys where I was born to Wales’s most northerly point where I now represent. We will do so by championing equality, allowing everyone the same chance to flourish, and redistributing wealth and opportunity in all their forms.
“Wales needs a strong Plaid Cymru if we are to build a confident nation working in partnership with others but with its future firmly in its own hands.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I welcome the announcement of Rhun ap Iorwerth as the new leader of Plaid Cymru.
“I look forward to a constructive working relationship to continue delivery of the ambitious programme set out in the three-year Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.”
Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, also congratulated Mr ap Iorwerth on his appointment.
“Although the reason the change of leadership came about was because of the previous Plaid leadership’s inability to tackle issues within their party,” he added.
“As Rhun was the deputy leader in that team, what’s changed?”
Congratulating Rhun ap Iorwerth on his confirmation, Llyr Gruffydd MS and former Acting Leader said: “My warmest congratulations to Rhun ap Iorwerth on becoming the new Leader of Plaid Cymru. I know Rhun will be a passionate and powerful advocate for Wales and its people.
“With his ability to articulate a compelling vision of how our nation can realise its full potential, I know that Rhun understand what’s important to the people of Wales, be that a fairer, more prosperous economy or a resilient, more efficient NHS.
“Moving forward together under Rhun’s leadership, it is more important then ever that we expose the thirteen years of calamitous Conservative rule in Westminster and Labour’s mismanagement of key services in Wales. At the same time, I know Rhun will be putting forward an ambitious policy platform to lead Wales on the journey to independence.
“As I end my term as Acting Leader, I am encouraged by the progress already made in implementing the recommendations of ‘Prosiect Pawb’ and I know Rhun will leave no stone unturned as we complete this work.”
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Parliamentary Leader Liz Saville Roberts MP added: “I warmly congratulate Rhun ap Iorwerth as he begins in his new role as leader of Plaid Cymru. As we build a united team between the Senedd and Westminster, I look forward to working closely with him, bringing together voices from across the party into our leadership.
“Ahead of a crucial Westminster election, Plaid Cymru stands as the sole party offering a genuine alternative to the 13 years of economic damage caused by the Tories. With Rhun’s experience, we can effectively challenge the Labour government’s record in Cardiff while presenting a bold offer for Wales’s economic and constitutional future.
“Together, we will swiftly implement the recommendations from Nerys Evans’ report, ensuring we are fighting fit for the upcoming general election. Wales holds immense potential that has been squandered by the Westminster parties. Plaid Cymru is the only party with an ambitious vision for a fairer, more prosperous, and forward-thinking Wales. I am excited to work with Rhun to bring that vision to fruition.”
Plaid Cymru Chair Marc Jones said: “Many congratulations to Rhun ap Iorwerth on becoming leader – it’s going to be a busy time as we prepare for a series of key elections over the next few years. I am looking forward to working with him and the leadership team in order to ensure success for the party in each of those elections and a better future for Wales.
“There is also work to be done to ensure that Project Pawb is fully implemented and that the party is a safe place for everyone. The work to make that a reality has begun, and I will encourage the Leader to give his full support to that initiative.”
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