world : Who is Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth?

world : Who is Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth?
world : Who is Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth?

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:52 PM

Nafeza 2 world - Rhun ap Iorwerth is leader of Plaid Cymru in Wales. Here is all you need to know about him.

Date of birth: 27 August 1972

Family: Married with three children

Education: Ysgol Gynradd Llandegfan, Ysgol David Hughes and Cardiff University

Career: BBC Wales journalist 1994-2013, Plaid Cymru leader since 2023

Welsh Parliament constituency: Ynys Môn since 2013

Plaid Cymru's leader was born in Tonteg, near Pontypridd, in south east Wales, but grew up in the north west of the country - spending his first few years in Meirionnydd before moving to the island of Anglesey, aged five.

Both his parents were very active in Welsh public life.

His father was a teacher and prominent singer, composer and campaigner for the Welsh language and culture, while his mother, also a teacher, was president of a number of bodies promoting Welsh.

Mr ap Iorwerth spent two decades or so reporting on politics for BBC Wales, as a high profile political journalist across television and radio.

He suddenly quit the broadcaster in the run-up to a by-election in Anglesey in 2013, where he stood for Plaid Cymru in the Senedd seat of Ynys Môn.

After an easy victory in the seat, he told Wales Online that the death of his mother, Gwyneth Morus Jones, the previous December had played a role, external in him turning to politics.

"I know my mother made a huge contribution to her community and to Wales," he said. “Seeing the things said about her... showed me quite clearly that I couldn’t go through life without making a contribution if that was at all possible.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth became party leader unopposed in 2023, after a scathing report on misogyny, harassment and bullying within Plaid led to the resignation of Adam Price.

Plaid Cymru, whose name means "party of Wales", is small in Westminster terms.

It won four seats at the 2019 general election and its policies tend to focus more on what it might achieve by winning power in the Welsh Parliament, or Senedd, where it has a larger presence.

Plaid has not yet published a manifesto, so there could be changes, but here are some of its more eye-catching policies:

  • Devolution: transferring more powers from Westminster to the Senedd

  • Independence for Wales

  • Funding: "fairer" financing of the Welsh government by UK ministers

  • Investment: a new Wales Development Agency to promote trade and attract investment

Since taking over as leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth has assumed a more confrontational approach to the Labour government in the Welsh Parliament.

He has ended Plaid's co-operation agreement with Labour ministers that his predecessor, Adam Price, had signed.

The deal, to implement a series of policies, including expanding the Senedd and free school meals for all state primary school pupils, was due to expire in December.

Plaid Cymru is currently the third largest party in Cardiff Bay, with 12 Senedd members, behind Labour and the Conservatives, helped by the proportional representation element of the Welsh Parliament's electoral system.

Taking four seats in the House of Commons at the 2019 UK general election, the party struggles to break out of its rural heartlands in north and west Wales.

Westminster's first-past-the-post voting system means less is seen of its limited support elsewhere in Wales. And the reduction in the number of Welsh seats, from 40 to 32, due to constituency changes ahead of this election, will also have an impact.

With UK general elections seen as choice between Conservative or Labour prime ministers, Plaid Cymru tends to have its work cut out to be visible and appear relevant to voters during the frenzy of the campaign, outside the small number of seats where it is in contention.

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