The former presiding officer of the Assembly says he'll stay away from the Senedd when tributes are paid to Margaret Thatcher.
Lord Elis-Thomas has replied to his party leader's claim that he doesn't share Plaid Cymru's views on protecting community health services.
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has praised Dafydd Elis-Thomas who's been temporarily suspended from Plaid in the Assembly.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood will speak in tomorrow's Assembly session marking the death of Margaret Thatcher. A party source says her contribution will be 'sensitive and respectful' but will set out 'a vision for the future of Wales which is very different to the Thatcherite vision.'
Assembly Members will be given the opportunity to speak about the former Prime Minister in the Senedd chamber before the weekly First Minister's Question session. Former Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas has said he won't attend.
Dafydd Elis-Thomas says he will consider 'the unexpected statement by Leanne Wood' but has nothing else to say at present. He was at the last of this week's Bangor University degree ceremonies when he learnt that he's had the Plaid Cymru whip restored and no longer faces disciplinary action.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has cancelled disciplinary proceedings against Dafydd Elis-Thomas and restored the party whip to him after he refused to attend a hearing on why he failed to support a vote of no confidence in the health minister, Lesley Griffiths.
Plaid sources say Ms Wood did not hold any discussions with the Dwyfor Meirionnydd AM but has informed all her members how AMs who disagree with party policy will be expected to behave in future.
Today, I am making a clear statement with regard to how I expect Plaid Cymru to move forward from events of this week. As you will be aware from my own political history, I am a politician which respects independent thought and respects freedom of expression. This is a vital component to a healthy democracy and a healthy politics. Although I do not agree with him, I respect the fact that Dafydd Elis-Thomas does not share the group’s long-held views on protecting core health services at community level, and to have ministerial accountability for the decisions made.
If any member has concerns on issues which they regard as a matter of conscience however this needs to be discussed and argued within the group in order to reach agreement. This is how politics works. It is through debating and discussing ideas and disagreements together, rather than abstaining and not taking part. In future therefore, if the Plaid Cymru group collectively chooses to support an issue and a campaign, I expect all members to unite behind that, unless they are willing to come to the group and explain and discuss why they are unable to do so.
– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM
It is not and never will be acceptable that statements are made to the press before they are shared within the party team. The party has always valued its unity of purpose. The whip has never before been withdrawn from an elected member of Plaid Cymru. I do not expect, and will not accept, the party being placed in this position again. Dafydd’s future role in Welsh politics is of course a matter for him. Whatever Dafydd decides to do we will respect his decision, but it is my wish to bring this matter, and this process to an end now and move on.
The Plaid leader also said that there is little doubt that the events of the past few days have been damaging to Plaid Cymru. She added that she had every confidence that Dafydd Elis-Thomas will respect how the party's group of AMs will operate in future.
There's strong support for Dafydd Elis-Thomas tonight from Plaid Cymru members in his constituency. The chair of Plaid's Dwyfor Meirionnydd Constituency Committee, Lis Pugh, has issued this statement:
In a meeting of the Plaid Cymru Dwyfor Meirionnydd Constituency Committee on Thursday 19 July, a motion was passed nem con that we state our full support for our Assembly Member, Dafydd Elis-Thomas.
The Commtitee is also totally commited to the task of realising Plaid Cymru's ambition of moving Wales on and ensure a more and confident future for our nation.
We believe that matters of conscience should always have priority over multi-party matters and we call on the Plaid Cymru group in the National Assembly to promote a positive agenda.
Plaid Cymru has withdrawn the party whip from Dafydd Elis Thomas 'without prejudice pending an internal process'. A spokesman said he had failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for missing today's vote of no confidence in the Health Minister Lesley Griffiths.
Labour have echoed Dafydd Elis Thomas' attack on his party, with one Welsh Government source claiming that Plaid Cymru have proved that they are happy to be stooges for the Tories. Meanwhile Plaid say that the political fallout over what they call hospital downgrading is far from over,
– Plaid Cymru Health Spokesperson Elin Jones AM
This is not about playing politics; it is about taking responsibility for important decisions that affect us all. Today, we invited the Health Minister to clear her name, but she failed to take that opportunity. It is clear from the correspondence that the Welsh Government, local health boards, and the NHS confederation each played a significant part in the drafting of the report on hospital reconfiguration, yet the Minister has denied this. The Health Minister is willing to take the credit for the opening of new services, but fails to take responsibility for the closure of old ones.
The Welsh Conservatives have promised to maintain 'fierce opposition to the downgrading of district general hospitals' despite the government's 29-28 victory, defeating the vote of no confidence on the Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths.
– Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar AM
The Minister’s performance today remains utterly unconvincing. Responses to many of the questions posed were completely contrary to the evidence provided. Serious questions persist on a number of significant issues and explanations on important matters relating to the report’s independence remain as clear as mud. It is disappointing that the joint motion has fallen in this way, despite continued cross-party concerns on the case for change report’s independence.