Wales politics

Wood predicts significant Plaid progress at local polls

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Media captionLeanne Wood has led Plaid Cymru since March 2012

Leanne Wood has said she expects Plaid Cymru to make "significant advances" at May's local elections, after "ups and downs" during her five years as leader.

Ms Wood took the reins in March 2012 and led the party through council, assembly, Westminster and EU elections.

She hopes to build on her own dramatic victory over Labour in Rhondda at the 2016 assembly election.

But Plaid has failed to win more Westminster or European seats, and lost councillors in the 2012 local polls.

There are four councils in Wales led by the party: Ceredigion, Gwynedd, Carmarthenshire and Conwy.

Speaking at the launch of Plaid's local election campaign, at Rhondda Heritage Park, she said: "I would have liked to have seen better results in the UK election.

"We came within 200 votes of winning a fourth MP and we had a great result in the Ynys Mon by election.

"I think there has been a full term now of elections since I've been the leader of Plaid Cymru.

"It's five years since I've been the leader of this party. It's had its ups and downs I suppose we could say, but I think these local council elections are the ones where we will see some significant advances for the party."

Image caption Neil McEvoy and Leanne Wood at the local election launch in Rhondda

On Tuesday, Ms Wood's group of AMs restored the whip to one of its members - Neil McEvoy, who is also a councillor in Cardiff.

Mr McEvoy was suspended from the group after he was found by a tribunal to have directed a bullying remark at a council official - however he remains under the month-long suspension from Cardiff council that the tribunal imposed.

Asked if she was happy with the situation, Ms Wood said: "Well look, none of us are going to be happy with a situation where a member of a Plaid Cymru group has been suspended. I'm not going to celebrate that.

"But we've moved on from there now.

"An apology has been issued and we are a functioning group and we will be working with our candidates at local community level to try to get the best possible local election results on May the fourth."

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