Wales politics

Plaid Cymru leadership: Rhun ap Iorwerth denies shift to centre plan

Rhun ap Iorwerth
Image caption Rhun ap Iorwerth says he is running for the leadership in response to Plaid members

A Plaid Cymru leadership challenger has denied wanting to move the party from the left to the centre politically.

Rhun ap Iorwerth told BBC Wales' Newyddion9 programme he was against "being narrow in another part of the political spectrum".

Plaid leader Leanne Wood has called the Welsh political centre ground "crowded" and "not an attractive place to be".

Mr ap Iorwerth also said he did not want a coalition with Labour or the Conservatives.

Ms Wood has said it is "quite possible" either he, or her other challenger, Adam Price, would be willing to make a deal with the Conservatives after the 2021 election.

Mr Price has said the idea of a coalition involving Plaid Cymru should be "taken off the table" and the party should focus on building a positive message.

Mr ap Iorwerth told Newyddion9 Plaid Cymru would be in a stronger position at the 2021 poll with him in charge.

Image caption Leanne Wood has said her rivals had not challenged her on policy

Mr ap Iorwerth said: "Seeing me with a laptop on a beach writing speeches on holiday with the family would have shown you I wasn't planning a leadership campaign.

"What happened in June and July is that I spoke to as many party members as I could. The message came back to me loud and clear.

"We'd like you to put your name forward as someone who can unite the party and make us a sharper electoral machine.

"It was inevitable thereafter that I would throw my name in."

Mr ap Iorwerth, AM for Ynys Mon since 2013, said party members would decide on any working relations between Plaid and other parties after the 2021 election.

Image caption Adam Price has called Wales' political landscape "devoid of ideas" needing a "great re-set"

He said: "I hear some people accuse me of wanting to move Plaid Cymru from the left to the centre.

"I don't want to do that because all you are doing is being narrow in another part of the political spectrum.

"I don't want a coalition with Labour or the Conservatives. The decision will be with the members.

"It's not defeatist to say we are not going to win a majority because no party has ever won a majority in the assembly. Therefore you have to have relations of some sort as all parties have."

The former journalist said the party needs to "move up a gear" to disprove the perception that Plaid was a party for Welsh speakers.

Asked if the party could win the next election with Ms Wood as leader, Mr ap Iorwerth said: "The message has become clear to me from the members that we could be in a stronger position if there is change."

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