Wales politics

Jones warns Plaid Cymru against 'hasty conclusions'

Ieuan Wyn Jones has warned Plaid Cymru against rushing into "hasty conclusions" as it tries to recover from a bruising election result.

In his swansong to the Plaid conference, he urged members to wait for the findings of a party review.

It was his last conference speech before he stands down as leader in the spring.

He used the speech in Llandudno to say his party had a duty to get into government.

Mr Jones announced he would stand down after May's assembly election when Plaid was pushed into third place behind the Conservatives.

As the race begins to find his successor he pledged to support the next leader and said it had been a "rare privilege" to have been one of only eight leaders in the party's history.

Mr Jones said that when the time was right Plaid Cymru should "never turn down the call to lead our nation".

Wales under Labour was "miles behind Scotland" under the Scottish National Party, he said.

The SNP, he said, had achieved borrowing and income tax powers, meaning the Scottish Government would be responsible for raising a third of its income.

'Back on track'

Meanwhile the Welsh Labour Government had only made "timid, un-ambitious" requests to the Treasury.

Mr Jones said it was Plaid's "duty" to to "step up to the plate" and lead Wales to get the nation "back on track".

In an interview with BBC Wales, Mr Jones said he did not think First Minister Carwyn Jones would want to form a new coalition at present, but that it would be "difficult" for the Welsh Labour minority administration to last the assembly's five-year term.

"We shouldn't on principle say we should never go into government," he said.

"My view is that would be the wrong way to go."

Image caption Mr Jones said Wales was "a better place" as a result of Plaid's time in government

In his speech, Mr Jones admitted the party had made a mistake in May's assembly election in "not telling people enough about what we achieved" over the previous four years in coalition with Labour in the Senedd.

"Wales is a better place and Plaid is responsible for that," he said.

Mr Jones said the party must "make Plaid a comfortable home for a majority of the people of Wales, whatever language they speak, wherever they come from".

Elsewhere in the conference, Plaid's assembly group defeated an attempt to rule out any coalition deal during this assembly term.

A bid to rule out any kind of coalition with the Conservatives, now or in the future, was also unsuccessful. It was referred to an ongoing party review for further consideration.

The first motion would have committed Plaid "not to enter any formal or informal coalition arrangements with the Welsh Government for the duration of this assembly term".

The motion, discussed in private session, would instead have pledged that the party "provide robust and effective opposition for the benefit of Wales".

The second motion aimed to prevent Plaid from forming a government with Conservatives, based on a similar pledge the Scottish National Party made in its successful campaign in this year's elections to the Scottish Parliament.

An amendment from Plaid Cymru's assembly group, which was backed by delegates, instead asked the review to "see what lessons could be learned from the SNP's success".

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