Wales politics

Plaid Cymru 'renewal' aim after election disappointment

Plaid Cymru delegates have been gathering for their annual conference in Llandudno as the party tries to pick itself up from a disappointing assembly election.

Delegates will discuss a motion ruling out any future coalition deals with the Conservatives in Cardiff Bay.

They will also hear the last conference speech of party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones before he steps down next spring.

Mr Jones warned Plaid against making "hasty" decisions.

On Thursday, the conference failed to reach a decision on how the party should be presented to electors.

The vote was evenly split on a motion that would have committed the party to using its full name, Plaid Cymru, in all party literature and campaign material.

In recent years it has regularly branded itself simply as Plaid.

During a closed session, delegates agreed to leave the branding issue on the table for the time being.

A motion to give a bigger say to the party's grass roots on how Plaid Cymru is run was also set aside for the time being.

The party will also be confronting questions about its future, not least, who will lead it when Mr Jones steps down from the helm.

Ceredigion AM Elin Jones has thrown her hat in the ring, and Lord Elis-Thomas, who led the party in the 1980s, has hinted he may do the same when nominations open in January.

The party is coming to terms with an election result in May that pushed it into third place in the Senedd behind the Conservatives.

'Party's hands'

Former AM Helen Mary Jones, who lost her Llanelli seat to Labour, said Plaid should have said during the campaign that it would not form a government with the Conservatives in Cardiff Bay.

"I really think we need to consider doing what the SNP of course did years ago which is to commit to never putting Tories in the cabinet," she said.

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Media caption"We want independence, not dependence," says Plaid Cymru president Jill Evans

The idea will be discussed at the conference, as will a call to be more explicit about the party's long-term constitutional goal of an independent Wales.

In a pre-conference briefing, Mr Jones said Plaid should not be be "hasty" or make decisions that "ties the party's hands".

Plaid wants the theme of the conference to be about renewal.

Party grandee Eurfyl ap Gwilym is leading a review into the party, established as part of the post-mortem into the election.

He said: "This conference will play an extremely important part in developing our party for the future.

"This renewal process provides us with a golden opportunity, not only to ensure that the people of Wales continue to have a party advancing the interests of our nation, but also to renew and re-energise our party so that we are properly equipped for the challenges and opportunities ahead."

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