Wales politics

Rhun ap Iorwerth 'would consider running for Plaid leader'

Rhun ap Iorwerth (right) with Radio Cymru presenter Dewi Llwyd
Image caption Rhun ap Iorwerth (right) with Radio Cymru presenter Dewi Llwyd at the Eisteddfod in Bodedern

A Plaid Cymru AM has said he would consider standing for the party's leadership if Leanne Wood were to step down.

Rhun ap Iorwerth made the comments during a Radio Cymru discussion at the National Eisteddfod on Anglesey.

But the Ynys Mon AM insisted he had no immediate ambitions to be leader - and there is currently no vacancy.

The AM added his party should again consider a coalition with Labour in the assembly if circumstances allow.

But he said now was not the right time.

Meanwhile, another one of the nine Plaid assembly members, who did not want to be named, has called for a leadership contest and for Ms Wood to stand down.

During the Radio Cymru discussion, presenter Dewi Llwyd asked Mr ap Iorwerth whether he had any intention of standing to be leader when the role was next vacated.

"Very possibly, who knows," the Ynys Mon AM replied.

"But it's not something I'm in a rush to do."

Image caption Rhondda AM Leanne Wood is the party's current leader

Mr ap Iorwerth also admitted he had ambitions to become first minister in the future.

"Having the opportunity to become my own country's prime minister would be something I would be delighted to do, of course - who wouldn't?", he said.

Despite saying Plaid could consider working more closely with Labour in the Senedd in future, he said the party had made the right decision in not seeking a coalition with Labour following the 2016 assembly election.

"At the moment we're doing the right thing by being in opposition," he said.

A different Plaid AM, who did not want to be named, said: "The party needs a leadership contest.

"The election result under Leanne was disappointing. If we are going to move the party forward its time for Leanne to step down.

"She has lost authority in the group and no longer has any control over what the group does."

The source added that Mr ap Iorwerth's leadership ambitions "have been clear for some time".

The general election did see Plaid Cymru increase its number of MPs from three to four despite its vote share slipping by 1.7%.

A Plaid Cymru spokeswoman declined to comment.

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