Plaid Cymru faces oblivion if it lurches left, Jonathan Edwards warns

Media caption,
Jonathan Edwards says Plaid should "aim for the gaping void in the middle" of politics

Plaid Cymru faces "oblivion" if it lurches to the left, one of its MPs has told party activists.

Addressing the party's spring conference in Llangollen, Denbighshire, Jonathan Edwards warned against basing Plaid's strategy on the "intricacies of socialist theory".

He said the warning was a "bit of friendly advice" and not a personal attack on party leader Leanne Wood.

Leader for six years, she is widely seen as being on the party's left.

Mr Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, urged the party "not to respond to the electoral challenges we face from Corbyn's Labour by basing our political strategy on the intricacies of socialist theory".

"I fear that road leads to political oblivion," he said.

"In the face of an increasingly insular, hostile, right wing centralist Tory party and a hard left statist command and control Labour party - we have to aim for the gaping void in the middle.

"This does not mean abandoning our principles as a party but prioritising our pro-business, environmental, internationalist and law and justice credentials."

Meanwhile fellow Plaid MP Liz Saville Roberts has said the party should be willing to work with Conservatives, even though Ms Wood has said she would never form a coalition with them.

Ms Saville Roberts - who leads Plaid at Westminster - told BBC Wales: "We have to look at different ways of working.

"The old cliches of carrying on doing the same thing in the same way and getting the results you don't like; the lesson you learn from that is something else has to be tried."

Analysis by BBC Wales political editor Nick Servini

The normally ultra-loyal Jonathan Edwards says his warning on socialist theory is a bit of "friendly advice" and not a personal attack on Leanne Wood.

Be that as it may, the problem is that Leanne Wood has identified herself so much with that ideology, and in a landmark speech in January talked about the "de-centralist socialism" of her party compared with the top-down undemocratic model of Labour.

It also shows how much traction there has been with the comments from Simon Thomas in the last party conference in the autumn that you cannot out-Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn.

This is the first spring conference for Plaid in a long while without an immediate election on the horizon, freeing up senior figures to speak their minds without the pressure of a vote in the offing.

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