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Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says she stands by her decision to sack Dafydd Elis-Thomas from his spokesperson job and to seek to remove him as chair of the Assembly's Environment committee. She took the action after he criticised her anti-UKIP stance during her recent conference speech.
Dafydd Elis-Thomas is expected to try to challenge his removal from the committee chair and has called for the Assembly's committees to be more independent of the political parties.
Plaid's Health spokesperson Elin Jones says the party 'isn't against that discussion' but that it should be held as part of a wider review of the Assembly's rules and not' in the context of one instance.'
Welsh Labour has sought to link the sacking of Dafydd Elis Thomas to another controversy facing Plaid Cymru to claim that the party is 'rattled' ahead of May's European elections. A spokesman said:
In this extract from my interview with Dafydd Elis Thomas following his sacking he explains why he was so opposed to the anti-UKIP criticism by his party's leader Leanne Wood. It was that opposition, and his public expression of it, which led to the action she's now taken against him.
He also says that he only became aware that Leanne Wood was planning to use the term 'un-Welsh' about UKIP's policies in her leader's speech to Plaid Cymru's conference when he read it on the ITV Cymru Wales website.
In the event, she didn't use the term and sources close to her say it was explained to him at the weekend that the term and the speech referred to 'values not nationality.'
Lord Elis-Thomas rejects my suggestion that the underlying reason for his opposition is that he has never been reconciled to Leanne Wood's leadership, saying 'it's not a matter of who the leader is; it's where the leadership is taking us.'
He says that direction should be focussed on improving devolution following the Silk Commission's report rather than making negative attacks on other parties.
Dafydd Elis Thomas says he may challenge his removal as chair of the Assembly's Environment Committee. Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said he will no longer be the party's nominee for the rôle.
I understand that the meeting between Leanne Wood and Dafydd Elis-Thomas took place in the Assembly last night. The last time they'd had a similar meeting was when she restored the party whip to him after he'd failed to join Plaid members in a confidence vote against the former Health Minister.
At that earlier meeting I'm told it was made clear to Lord Elis-Thomas what was expected of him if he wanted to keep his committee chair and that that didn't include making publicly critical comments of the kind he made at the weekend,all of which meant last night's meeting had become inevitable.
Sources close to the leadership say a number of conference delegates had criticised his comments, saying they'd been a distraction and had undermined morale. There's been no official response yet from Dafydd Elis-Thomas, but in and outside Plaid, a lot of people are waiting to see what he does next.
Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood has explained why she's taken action against Dafydd Elis-Thomas:
The former leader of Plaid Cymru, Dafydd Elis-Thomas has been stripped of his job as chair of the Environment committee as punishment for criticising comments made by his party's leader at the weekend.
Plaid Cymru has confirmed that Lord Elis-Thomas will be replaced as chair of the Assembly's Environment Committee by Alun Ffred-Jones. He'll also lose his job as Transport Spokesman.