Plaid MP Edwards not ruling out coalition with Tories

Jonathan Edwards

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Jonathan Edwards: “Are we serious about having a Plaid Cymru first minister?”

A Plaid Cymru and Conservative coalition cannot be ruled out after the next election in 2021, a Plaid MP says.

Speaking on the eve of his party’s spring conference in Bangor, Jonathan Edwards said Plaid can no longer be a “junior party to Labour”.

Plaid has previously governed in coalition with Labour and agreed deals with the party in the assembly.

Meanwhile, Plaid leader Adam Price said his party offered “an alternative to Labour’s suffocating hegemony”.

Working with the Tories will be an unappealing prospect for some in Plaid, including its former leader Leanne Wood.

But Mr Edwards, who represents the same Carmarthen East and Dinefwr constituency as the leader, said if Plaid cannot win enough seats to form a government on its own “then the question becomes who are people willing to work with”.

“As far as I’m concerned there is absolutely no difference in terms of the damage that the Labour Party and the Conservative Party have done to Wales,” he added.

“The challenge for my fellow members in Plaid Cymru is are we serious about having a Plaid Cymru first minister?

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Adam Price gave his first conference speech as party leader last October

“And I think there’s the appetite for that under the leadership of Plaid Cymru.

“We are not in the business of wanting to be a junior party to the Labour Party any more in Wales. We are in the business of wanting to govern our country and us leading that government.”

Plaid’s aim for the next two years was to form a government on its own, but he added “if that’s not possible then clearly then we will have to look at the numbers and see how you achieve that objective.”

On the eve of the conference, Mr Price said he would appoint a minster for the future in a Plaid cabinet.

He said: “At the heart of our vision for Wales is a country transformed. We are offering an alternative to Labour’s suffocating hegemony by embracing a new Welsh wave of change.”

The prime minister was unable to govern, Mr Price added, while Westminster “looks through its rose-tinted monocle and yearns for the return of the British Empire”.

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Plaid Cymru has four MPs in Westminster, and ten AMs in the National Assembly for Wales

Mr Edwards also welcomed proposals to rename and rebrand Plaid – an idea put forward by Mr Price in his leadership campaign last year and by former SNP MP Angus Robertson this month.

In a report commissioned by Plaid, Mr Robertson said the party needed a “more inclusive brand“.

Mr Edwards said he was “absolutely supportive of any move to rebrand the party” if it helps “build a coalition of support for a Plaid Cymru government”.

“Renaming or rebranding on its own isn’t going to be enough, but it’s part of a package together with policy proposals,” he said.

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