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  1. ITV Report

Former Plaid Cymru leader backs Labour candidate

Former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Elis-Thomas has called on voters in North Wales to make Labour either their first or second preference for police commissioner. Lord Elis-Thomas is standing as a Plaid Cymru Assembly candidate but says that in the police commissioner election on the same day, voters "need to think and act tactically".

Former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Elis-Thomas. Credit: ITV News

I’m calling on all supporters of Plaid Cymru, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats right across North Wales to cast either their first or second preference vote for Labour’s David Taylor on Polling Day, to stop UKIP from inadvertently benefiting.

– – DAFYDD ELIS-THOMAS

At the last police commissioner election, Dafydd Elis Thomas backed Labour's Tal Michael in North Wales. But unlike now, there was no Plaid Cymru candidate although many in the party backed the independent Winston Roddick, who went on to win.

In police commissioner elections, voters are asked to express two preferences on a single ballot paper, so Lord Elis-Thomas has left open the possibility of voting Plaid Cymru as a first preference and putting Labour second. That would only help Labour in a run-off against a third party, which the former Plaid leader says he fears could be UKIP. But he went on to say that it was Labour that had the candidate "who can unite our region".

I know he would make an outstanding commissioner, bringing a much-needed new energy and enthusiasm to the role.

– – DAFYDD ELIS-THOMAS

Two years ago, Plaid's leader, Leanne Wood, sacked Lord Elis-Thomas a chair of an Assembly committee. He had criticised her for describing a vote for UKIP as "a vote against Wales". Last year he survived moves to deselect him as a candidate. He was backed by his constituency party members after he agreed not to criticise Plaid Cymru policy without discussing it with them first.

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson declined to comment on whether Dafydd Elis Thomas had consulted his local party on this occasion and whether he will face any disciplinary action. The party has responded with a series of endorsements for its candidate, Arfon Jones, from senior Plaid figures.

They include Elfyn Llwyd, who took over from Dafydd Elis Thomas as MP for Meirionnydd, as well as the area's current Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts.

Arfon is ideally suited to understand the challenges of policing the north Wales area. Originally from Meirionnydd, he now lives in Wrexham and worked throughout his professional career as a police officer with North Wales Police.

– Liz Saville Roberts MP

Five candidates are standing for election as Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales:

  • Arfon Jones -Plaid Cymru
  • Julian Sandham -Independent
  • David Taylor -Labour
  • Simon Wall -UKIP
  • Matt Wright -Conservative