Wales politics

'Dedicated republican' AM to miss royal assembly opening

Bethan Jenkins tweet
Image caption Bethan Jenkins also missed the royal opening of the assembly in 2011

Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins will be absent from the royal opening of the Welsh Assembly, saying she had a "full day of constituency work".

The South Wales West AM said via Twitter that she would not attend the event, being "a dedicated republican".

Plaid Cymru said its 11 other AMs would be there on Tuesday when the Queen leads the proceedings.

Ms Jenkins was one of five Plaid AMs who failed to attend the 2011 opening, including current leader Leanne Wood.

'First duty'

In a statement on Monday, the South Wales West AM said: "I will not be attending tomorrow's Royal opening of the National Assembly for Wales as I have a full day of constituency work.

"As a committed republican, my first duty is always to my constituents, whose issues cannot be put off for what is ultimately a ceremonial event.

"The National Assembly is here to serve the people of Wales and that is what I shall be doing tomorrow."

Image caption Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood (red jacket) was one of those who missed the 2011 ceremony

A party spokesperson said: "Eleven Plaid Cymru Assembly Members will be present during tomorrow's official opening of the Assembly.

"Bethan Jenkins will be holding meetings in the constituency and will not be in the Assembly."

In 2011, five of the 11 newly-elected Plaid Cymru AMs were absent from the royal opening of the fourth assembly.

The then group leader Ieuan Wyn Jones was said to be on half-term leave, while Ms Wood and Lindsay Whittle attended a republican event.

Llyr Gruffydd visited the homeless charity Shelter Cymru, while Ms Jenkins said she was spending the day talking to businesses in Bridgend about the economic downturn.

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