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Questions must be asked over Leanne Wood's leadership, says former Plaid Cymru MP

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A former Plaid Cymru MP says questions must be asked about Leanne Wood’s suitability to lead the party.

Elfyn Llwyd, who represented the Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency in Westminster from 1992 to 2015, says the party is not moving forward and a discussion is needed over its leadership.

He told ITV Wales’s Y byd yn ei Le: “If you look at any other political party, if that party is not seen to be succeeding, either standing still or going backwards the question of leadership gets raised.”

Mr Llwyd added: “I am not talking about personalities, I am talking about facts. We have not made great strides at local government level, in the Assembly or in Westminster over the past six or seven years and we have to ask why?”

Y byd yn ei Le also spoke to several longstanding Plaid Cymru members in Llanelli, where the candidate for the last Assembly election was chosen by the party centrally, overruling a decision made by local members to choose a different candidate. Following the decision, over 40 members have left the party in what has traditionally been one of Plaid Cymru’s main target constituencies.

Plaid Cymru has defended its decision, claiming the locally chosen candidate, Sean Rees, was not suitable and Mari Arthur, who eventually finished third behind Labour and the Conservatives, was a better option.

Llanelli is far from the only place where dissenting voices can be heard. Plaid Cymru also disagreed with a decision by several Plaid Cymru councillors in Conwy last year to work alongside Conservatives in the county council cabinet.

The party's decision to suspend Neil McEvoy has also drawn criticism

The party’s decision to suspend South Wales Central AM Neil McEvoy has also drawn criticism from some quarters. Now sitting in the Assembly as an independent AM, Mr McEvoy has now formed a new campaign group called Propel for Plaid Cymru members, which he hopes can instigate a change of direction within the party.

Ms Wood has led the party since 2012 but recently announced she will stand down as leader if she does not become First Minister following the next Welsh Assembly election in 2021.

However party rules allow members to nominate challengers for the post within a certain timeframe every two years. The deadline for anybody wishing to see change at the head of Plaid Cymru is July 4 and there is speculation that several assembly members are being encouraged to throw their hats in the ring.

Plaid Cymru was asked to respond to Mr Llwyd’s remarks but the party chose not to comment.

But with one of the party’s senior stalwarts weighing in on the debate, speculation over Ms Wood’s future as leader is unlikely to subside anytime soon.

Y Byd yn ei Le, available with English language subtitles, is on S4C tonight (Tuesday) at 9.30pm.