Ieuan Wyn Jones to stand down as Plaid leader


Ieuan Wyn Jones has today announced his intention to stand down as party leader.  Speaking to his party members and local constituents he set out the timetable for his departure.

Plaid Cymru leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, said:

“In August this year I will have been in a leadership role within Plaid Cymru for 11 years, the third longest continuous period in the party’s history. It has been an immense privilege for me. I have also witnessed many historic and momentous events during that period, not least leading the party into government for the first time in its 86 years history and the referendum on law making powers. We now have the proper law making Parliament we have fought so long and so hard to achieve. The result of that referendum in March this year showed that devolution has been firmly established and accepted in all parts of Wales. 

“I am immensely proud of the party’s achievements during the last four years in particular. As well as the referendum, I was responsible for transforming the Welsh government’s relationship with business and investing in improved transport links across the nation.

“The government I was a member of invested in the foundation phase and  maintained our hospital services across Wales by reversing the cuts proposed by the previous Labour government. I am also extremely proud of the fact that the Welsh language has been given official status, and the role of Welsh medium education has been strengthened. Plaid also ensured that we had a strong, stable and progressive government and that, in no small measure gave the people of Wales a reason to vote a resounding Yes in the referendum.

“It was a great honour to have been Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport. There can be no greater honour than serving one’s country in government.

“The results of the 2011 election were a disappointment for Plaid Cymru. As leader I take my share of the responsibility for those results. The party obviously needs time to reflect on the results, look long and hard at our message, our party structures and campaigning abilities. Since 1999, we have taken great strides in improving the party’s campaigning abilities. But we now need to take the party to the next stage of its development, and conduct a thorough review. We should not be tempted to reach instant decisions, but take the time we need to put things right.

“I reject any suggestion that the party does not know what it is for or what it currently stands for.  It always has been and remains a party that is ambitious in its desire to create a more prosperous Wales, and to see Wales taking more and more control of its own affairs.  Wales still has a long way to go to fulfil that ambition.

“I am confident that Plaid Cymru will recover stronger and better, provided we understand the need to change and modernise. Wales needs Plaid Cymru as much as ever as we strengthen the institutions which govern the life of the nation. But I am equally sure that the party needs to continue to aspire to be a party of government, because I came into politics to get things done and to improve people’s lives for the better.

“As I did not intent to lead the party into the 2016 election, it had always been my intention to step down as party leader sometime during the course of this Assembly, whatever the result of the election. The time is now right for me to make that clear and to say that I will be standing down as leader sometime within the first half of this Assembly term.

“I am equally clear that an immediate leadership election would not serve the party’s best interests given the need for the review which needs to take place. I will need to discuss with colleagues and the wider party the appropriate time for a leadership election to take place within the timeframe I have announced. There also needs to be sufficient time for a new Leader to establish him/herself well before 2016.

“I could not have been a party leader for more than a decade without the support of my family. I want to thank Eirian, my wife for her incredible support and encouragement. She has been a rock through it all. Also my three children and four grandchildren have been extremely supportive throughout. And a special thanks to my mother who celebrated her 89th birthday recently. My brother Arwel has also been a source of strength and brotherly advice.

“I thank the people of Ynys Mon for their incredible support on the 5th of May and I now dedicate myself to repaying that support by being an even more effective Assembly Member during this Assembly term.”