Wales politics

Assembly electoral pact negotiations fail to reach deal

Polling station

Informal talks between the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru for an assembly electoral pact have failed to reach an agreement.

BBC Wales understands one proposal was for two parties to withdraw candidates in seats where the third party had a chance of victory in the poll on 5 May.

The Greens said the "electoral math was there" but not the "political will".

Plaid confirmed "exploratory talks" had ended. The Liberal Democrats said they "decided it wasn't the right approach".

Wales Green Party leader Alice Hooker-Stroud said: "Talks took place but no final proposal to take to our members for final agreement was reached."

A spokeswoman for Plaid Cymru said Wales needed "a new direction and fresh thinking".

She added: "Informal, exploratory talks were held with the Liberal Democrats and Green Party in order to establish whether any cooperation was feasible between the parties.

"These discussions have since come to an end.

"Plaid Cymru - the Party of Wales - will continue to demonstrate that it is ready and able to provide the strong leadership Wales needs following May's election."

A spokesman for the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: "We can confirm that we were approached informally on this matter but we decided it wasn't the right approach."

Plaid Cymru is the third largest party with 11 of the assembly's 60 seats, while the Lib Dems have denied suggestions they could lose all five of their AMs.

The Greens currently have no assembly members, and gained 2.6% of the vote in Wales in the 2015 general election.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the talks showed that some people were "throwing in the towel already" on the assembly election.

Speaking on Y Sgwrs on S4C, Mr Jones said it would have been interesting to hear the discussions.

He said Welsh Labour was not looking for any electoral deal and would be fighting the election as a single party.

'Direspecting voters'

Conservative AM Dr Altaf Hussain claimed the news was "hugely embarrassing" for Plaid Cymru and its leader Leanne Wood.

"Just this week Plaid AMs said that it wasn't appropriate to talk coalitions before the election, and now we find out that they have been desperately scratching around for a deal with other minor parties - disrespecting voters and undermining democracy," he said.

"It does seem that Leanne has given up on her election chances before a single vote has been cast; leaderless, rudderless and utterly hopeless."

In 1992 Cynog Dafis was elected MP for Ceredigion on a joint Plaid Cymru-Green ticket.

However, in the run-up to the 2015 general election the Greens accused Plaid members of harassing them on social media after they refused to stand down to give Plaid a better chance of winning Ceredigion back from the Lib Dems.

Y Sgwrs is on S4C at 21:30 GMT on Wednesday 10 February.

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