Plaid leader's constituency fight

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood reveals which constituency she'll fight as part of her high-risk strategy for the 2016 Welsh election

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Labour AM predicts defeat for 'lacklustre Plaid leader'

Labour's Leighton Andrews has claimed that he's looking forward to fighting Leanne Wood in the Rhondda at the next Assembly election. He said that she can expect a similar defeat to when she last fought the constituency in a Westminster election.

The Rhondda rejected Leanne Wood in 2001 and I’m sure the people of the Rhondda won’t be fooled by her gesture politics this time. This announcement shows just how little faith the Plaid Cymru candidate has in her own ability to win in 2016 and it's cost what little leadership credibility she had. Standing in Rhondda is no more than a political stunt. It’s clear that she plans to get back into the Assembly on the Regional List and the people of the Rhondda will soon see through that.

In 2003, I won the Rhondda back from Plaid for Labour and beat the Plaid Cymru AM. In 2007 I beat the Plaid Cymru MEP. In 2011, I increased my majority. I look forward to the opportunity of beating Plaid's lacklustre leader in 2016.

– Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews

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Leader faces selection process

Leanne Wood will now have to go through the process of formally applying to become Plaid Cymru's candidate for the the Rhondda Assembly constituency. The party is about to begin the process of selecting its 40 constituency candidates. Nominations for the regional lists will open later.

That gives Leanne Wood more time to decide if she wants the insurance policy of also standing in South Wales Central. Labour banned that practice, when it was in power at Westminster, complaining that it 'turned losers into winners'. But the present UK government says it will change the law.

Leanne Wood says that for now she in proceeding on the assumption that the ban will stay in place but will consider her options if the law is changed.

I am announcing to you today that it is my intention to seek selection to stand in the next Assembly election as the candidate for the Rhondda constituency. I know that, for people in the Rhondda, this isn’t as good as it gets. I know that Wales can be successful and can thrive. Economics and Politics go together. We can only get the economics right if we get the politics right. And that is why I am determined that the next government of Wales will be a Plaid Cymru Government.

– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM

'Home is where the heart is' explains constituency choice says Leanne Wood

Leanne Wood made her announcement during a speech in Cardiff Bay Credit: Adrian Masters ITV News Cymru Wales

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has followed her decision last year that she would lead by example and fight a constituency seat in 2016 by announcing that she will contest the Rhondda. "Home is where the heart is", she said. "Growing up, where I grew up has shaped me personally and politically".

Since her initial decision, the UK government has announced that it wants to change the law so Assembly candidates can fight both constituency and list seats. But Leanne Wood made no mention of the option of also defending her regional list seat and only giving it up if she wins in the Rhondda.

Plaid Cymru held the Rhondda constituency in the first Assembly but it is now held for Labour by the Education Minister Leighton andrews. He has a 6,739 majority, polling more than twice as many votes as the Plaid Cymru candidate in 2011.

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  1. Adrian Masters

Plaid leader to set out economic vision - but what about her own future?

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood will mark the first anniversary of her election to the top job by setting out five ways of transforming the economy. There's speculation that she'll also use the occasion to make a long-awaited announcement about where she intends to fight the next Welsh election.

Leanne Wood has already said she'll contest a constituency seat in 2016. Click here to see why that's such a significant statement. Speculation aside, her speech will follow up on her leadership pledge by focusing exclusively on the economy and ways to create jobs.

She'll set out five areas that the party where the party thinks Welsh Government intervention could help. They are:

  • Connecting the nation - better rail and road links, better use of harbours, improved IT neworks
  • Re-localising the local - making sure all public organisations buy more products and services as locally as possible
  • National Energy Agency for Wales - to develop new projects and keep profits in Wales
  • Welsh financial system - including a publicly-owned Bank of Wales to invest in small businesses
  • Re-balancing Britain - including changing the way Wales is funded and devolving the welfare system to Wales
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