Monday, 14 January 2008

Plaid Cymru in the Heart of the British Establishment

Wigley in race for Lords seat

Jan 14 2008 by Martin Shipton, Western Mail

FORMER Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Wigley has confirmed he will stand as a candidate for a seat in the House of Lords, the Western Mail can reveal today.
In November Plaid overturned its longstanding objection to its members accepting peerages in response to new constitutional arrangements under which the Lords can veto Assembly Government proposals for new Welsh laws.
Mr Wigley yesterday confirmed he will be a candidate in an internal party election for the new roles just days before nominations close this week.
Last October, Mr Wigley stipulated three pre-conditions before he would consider going to the Lords.
The first was that Plaid’s policy should permit members to take seats there: this was satisfied by the November vote of the party’s national council.
His second condition was that Plaid’s group of three MPs should agree with the move and that there should be a co-ordination mechanism between the MPs and the party’s peers. Plaid’s parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd has confirmed there is no difficulty on this account and that he welcomes the establishment of a Plaid presence in the second chamber.
The third issue involved creating a linkage between the Plaid team in the Lords and the National Assembly.

Mr Wigley, who represented Caernarfon at Westminster and in Cardiff Bay for 29 years in total until stepping down in 2003, and had two stints as party president, told the Western Mail, “I have been given an assurance by Ieuan Wyn Jones, as Plaid’s leader in the Assembly, that there will be no problem in establishing for members of the second chamber, a specific and appropriate role in relation to the Assembly and a formal link to Plaid’s Assembly group.
“I attach great importance to this, as the only reason I am willing to return to London in such a role is to support the programme of the One Wales coalition government, and to press the issues which are uppermost on the agenda of Plaid’s group in the Assembly.
“Amongst these will be securing the agreement of the second chamber to the legislative orders sought by the Assembly; campaigning for a better financial settlement for Wales than that currently afforded by the Barnett formula; and pressing the case for economic policies from the Westminster government which are helpful for the regeneration of the economy of Wales. I also hope to renew my parliamentary work for disabled people.”
Mr Wigley added, “I am certainly not taking it for granted that I will be elected. A number of other strong candidates are putting their names forward and are mounting vigorous campaigns.”

Nominations close on Wednesday, and the election will take place in Plaid’s national council on January 26 to decide on the slate of nominees which the party will put forward for membership of the Lords.
It is thought likely that Plaid will be allowed to select three new peers, one of whom will be a woman.
As well as Mr Wigley, candidates for seats in the Lords will include the party’s economics adviser Eurfyl ap Gwilym, former chief executive Dafydd Williams, former AM Janet Davies, Gwynedd Council chair Meinir Owen and Rhian Medi Roberts, who works for the Plaid group in the House of Commons.
Some prominent party members have decided not to stand, including the well-respected former AM Cynog Dafis.
Yesterday Pauline Jarman, a former AM who led Rhondda Cynon Taf council until 2004 and remains the council’s opposition leader, said she would not be a candidate for the House of Lords.
Mrs Jarman said, “I’ve listened to the advice of some people whose opinions I respect, and have decided not to put my name forward. There’s a lot of work to be done locally.”

Whatever we think about the pros and cons of Plaid members sitting in the House of Lords it will provide these digitaries with a platform to advance the cause of Wales. Alan in Dyfed

1 comment:

rhydian said...

Eurfyl ap Gwilym is very underrated. Most people see him in the middle pages of the Western Mail most weeks, discussing some economic problem or other, but he's forgotten otherwise. In fact, he is the brilliant brain behind many of the bright, innovative approaches Plaid have had to economic problems, and has directed manifestos and policy for years. He and Dafydd Wigley would make a formidable team in the Second Chamber, along with Meinir Owen would be the best in terms of ability and her approach to a political debate which would be the best complement to Wigley's.

I think Meinir Owen is a bit of a dark horse in the contest. Most of the others have a higher national profile, but I think she'll win over quite a few when it comes to the final decisions. She's not the current Chair of Gwynedd Council for nothing, and is a very able candidate - intelligent, considerate and calm, as well as a lovely person - and probably a bit underrated as she doesn't go around grabbing headlines.

It goes without saying who the best candidate is. See Dafydd Wigley's blog entry - Englisb to follow soon - on