Wales politics

Plaid rebel Lord Elis-Thomas rules out move to Labour

Former Plaid Cymru leader Lord Elis-Thomas has ruled out joining the Labour Party but says he has considered it.

He made the remarks on BBC Radio Cymru on Friday, following his suspension from the Plaid Cymru assembly group for not attending a controversial vote.

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths survived a motion of no-confidence over a report into hospital reorganisation.

Lord Elis-Thomas accused Plaid of being "lapdogs" to the Tories and says he is disappointed by his party's stance.

In a radio interview, presenter Nia Thomas asked him if he had considered joining the Labour Party.

"Yes... and I'll tell you honestly why... I'm disappointed in the stance Plaid Cymru has taken since and during the last election campaign," he replied.

"I stood in the last election on behalf of Plaid Cymru in Dwyfor Meirionnydd, to praise what I considered we'd done while in government, but that wasn't the campaign we had, and so we are now a kind of supportive opposition for the Conservatives."

But he added that he would not defect to the Labour party: "No, I certainly won't, because I was in a constituency meeting last night, and have their unanimous support, and I continue to be Plaid Cymru's member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd.

"If Plaid Cymru choose to withdraw the whip, that's a matter for them."

A disciplinary panel - made up of Plaid AMs Elin Jones, Simon Thomas and Bethan Jenkins - is looking at whether further sanctions should be taken against Lord Elis-Thomas.

Party leader Leanne Wood, who beat Lord Elis-Thomas in this year's Plaid leadership election, declined to comment on the matter saying she did not want to "prejudice that process".

Opposition parties united behind a motion of no-confidence in Mrs Griffiths on Wednesday in a row about a controversial report into reorganising hospitals, amid claims that civil servants had put undue pressure on its independent author.

Mrs Griffiths survived the motion, which was defeated by 29 votes to 28.

Lord Elis-Thomas was presiding at a graduation ceremony in Bangor University in his capacity as chancellor while the vote took place.

On the BBC Radio Wales Phone-In, First Minister Carwyn Jones was asked whether he would welcome Lord Elis-Thomas to his party.

He said: "We would welcome anybody who shared our values, there's no doubt about that and we would welcome anybody who supported the aims of a Labour Welsh government."

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