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Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says economy is key question for Wales


Plaid Cymru will focus on the economy as the party seeks to bounce back from disappointing local election results, says its leader Leanne Wood.

She said it would take time to come up with an economic plan "to turn around the weak economy in Wales".

"We need fresh thinking, we need new thinking," she told BBC Wales' Dragon's Eye programme.

Plaid failed to keep control of Gwynedd and Caerphilly in last Thursday's election.

Across Wales, the Plaid lost 41 seats but remained the second biggest party in local government behind Labour.

Ms Wood, leader since March, said it was not all bad news with the party breaking new ground in Abergele in Conwy county, Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire and Pentre in the Rhondda.

"We fought [with] the greatest number of candidates in this election than we ever have before," she said.

"We've seen an increase in membership in Plaid Cymru recently so there are a number of positives to build on but we're disappointed by losing some really quality councillors across Wales."

She conceded Labour had put across a "very simple and effective message to send to David Cameron and Nick Clegg" in the election campaign.

She said people saw Labour as the "party of safety" but added Labour had not put forward a positive programme to try to deal with the UK government's austerity measures.

Labour enjoyed a hugely successful election winning 10 of 21 authorities in Wales.

Economic plan

Ms Wood said her party had to set its sights higher than giving Labour a bloody nose and would be focusing on the economy.

"I think the economy is the key question facing us in Wales," she said.

"Every year, every set of statistics that comes out we see that the Welsh economy is getting weaker and weaker.

"So all effort now has to go into turning around the Welsh economy and that's going to be very difficult in the face of the cuts that are coming."

She said she had already stated that Plaid needed to develop a long term economic plan to turn round the economy.

"The political situation we're in is not an easy one and to try to come up with sexy messages to try to win people over, very simply, I don't think is going to work," she said.

"It's going to take time to work on an economic plan to turn around the weak economy in Wales."

More on this story

  • Leanne Wood says Plaid Cymru will rebuild after 'difficult' council elections