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Plaid leader's front bench shake-up

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has given further details of how her new smaller front bench team will work. A streamlined 'cabinet-in-waiting' will include herself and four other lead spokespeople.

  • Elin Jones: Deputy Leader in the Assembly, Shadow Minister for Health and Well-being
  • Rhun ap Iorwerth: Shadow Minister for Economy and Enterprise
  • Simon Thomas: Shadow Minister for Education and the Welsh Language
  • Llyr Gruffydd: Shadow Minister for Sustainable Communities, Energy and Food

As backbenchers, Alun Ffred Jones and Rhodri Glyn Thomas will support her leadership, speaking on Finance and Local Government respectively. Elin Jones will be teamed with Lindsay Whittle, whose responsibilities will include Social Services.

Newcomer Rhun ap Iorwerth will be supported by veteran Dafydd Elis Thomas, who will speak on Transport. Bethan Jenkins will focus on youth issues, arts and sport with Simon Thomas. Llyr Gruffydd will have backbench support from Jocelyn Davies.

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Plaid leader unveils 'streamlined' top team

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood unveils new 'cabinet-in-waiting' Credit: ITV News, Adrian Masters

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has announced major changes to her top team, cutting the number of front bench spokespeople to just five including herself. She says the new 'cabinet-in-waiting' will enable Plaid to be 'more focussed and streamlined' in the Assembly.

The team includes newcomer Rhun ap Iorwerth who only became an AM last August, Simon Thomas, Llyr Gruffydd and deputy leader Elin Jones. Alun Ffred Jones will sepak on finance but as a 'backbench link person.'

Also left out of the top team are senior figures such as Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Jocelyn Davies and Rhodri Glyn Thomas. They and others are set to be named as 'back bench links' who'll work with the front bench team.

Plaid's end of year attack on Labour

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has criticised the Welsh Government for a year of 'disappointment and failures.' She highlighted Wales' poor performance in the recent PISA international education league tables as well as 'crisis after crisis' in the NHS.

She also accused Labour of presiding over a 'lack of transparency,' citing the news that a controversial hospital reorganisation programme will be announced this coming Thursday which is the last day the Assembly will meet this year.

The Plaid leader said that was 'further evidence of a government afraid to front up' and accused Carwyn Jones' government of 'staggering complacency.'

UK won't be the same after 2014 says Plaid leader

In an interview for this week's Sharp End, Leanne Wood tells me that Plaid Cymru's 'central and core aim is to achieve an independent Wales.' Long-term Plaid-watchers will say that that aim hasn't always been clearly stated and she agrees.

She also agrees that Wales is a long way from being in the position Scotland finds itself and seriously deciding whether or not to break away from the rest of the UK. But she tells me 'things change and things can change very quickly.'

I'll be discussing what she says and any other ways that Wales could be affected by developments in Scotland with my guests in tonight's Sharp End at 1035pm on ITV Cymru Wales.

First Minister should take responsibility for NHS problems says Plaid

During First Minister's Questions, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said Carwyn Jones should take responsibility for problems in the Welsh health service. The Senedd exchanges following moves by Hywel Dda health board to postpone some operations to prepare for winter emergencies.

Leanne Wood said to the First Minister:

Are you aware of the level of outrage in Hywel Dda amongst clinicians who have been told that they will have a third of their workload taken away from them this winter. They will be underutilised for four months out of twelve. These staff members still have to be paid and people are stuck in waiting lists in pain and awaiting surgery. When can the people of Wales expect to see you take some responsibility for the problems in the Welsh NHS?

– Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru leader

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Plaid Cymru elect new party chair

Plaid Cymru have elected a new party chairman at their conference in Aberystwyth.Dr Dafydd Trystan Davies, a former chief executive of the party, will succeed Helen Mary Jones.

I’m delighted to have been elected chair of Plaid Cymru. My aim is to build on the strong foundations left by my predecessor, Helen Mary Jones.

These are exciting times for Plaid Cymru and I intend to play my part in preparing the party as we head towards the National Assembly for Wales elections in 2016.

As chair I’ve a very important role to play as a voice for members in the party, bringing together the volunteers across the country and linking them into the elected members and the professional staff of the party.

As chair, I’m keen to engage with our young members, ensure a higher percentage of women candidates representing the Party and to attract people from all backgrounds to Plaid Cymru. I also want to hear from those who are interesting in contributing to Plaid Cymru, whether or not they are party members.

– Dafydd Trystan Davies, newly elected Plaid Cymru chairman

Plaid Cymru pledge rent controls and sugary drinks tax

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has made a series of policy pledges which she says she'd carry out if her party wins power in Cardiff Bay. They include a tax on sugary drinks and rent controls on private housing.

Leanne Wood was speaking at Plaid Cymru's conference in Aberystwyth.

Our Political Editor Adrian Masters reports.

Plaid leader pledges rent controls and sugary drink levy

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