Adam Price’s Blog

The Blog of Adam Price AS/MP, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Adam Price MP / AS - Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

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21st September 2009

Plaid Cymru gain, Plaid Cymru hold

Kirsty Williams has read the “Riot Act” to the party’s London Headquarters on not consulting her over scrapping the huge ‘vote of confidence’  in Wales that was the Defence Training Academy in St. Athan.  Presumably she was consulted on the proposal to scrap the Wales Office – I don’t remember much Lib Dem support when I floated this in 2007,but Lembit says he has been calling for this since 2004.  Since he was Leader at the time, does that mean they are simply reannouncing an old policy? 

More interesting is the question whether she has been consulted over the U-turn on tuition fees. Following Nick Clegg’s speech on Thursday, the Lib Dems are now occupying exactly the same ground as Plaid:  against tuition fees in principle, but in favour of them in practice; pledged to abolish one day, but not in the current financial climate.  I expect fulsome apologies to the Plaid leadership now from the likes of Peter Black over all those charges of hypocrisy.  One immediate effect of the U-turn is that thousands of Lib Dem leaflets in Ceredigion will now have to be pulped.  It’s now more certain than ever that Mark Williams will  be joining the ranks of the ex-MP, along with me.  The fact that this announcement is timed to perfection to coincide with the Freshers Fair must be particularly galling for him.  The leadership have certainly done the Welsh section (branch?) of the Party no favours this week, between St. Athan’s, fees and an already under-confidenced Welsh leader’s conference snub.

Speaking of the General Election, in a few minutes I am about to address a meeting of the party faithful in Penybanc Rugby Club where  I will formally tender my resignation as the candidate for the Westminster Election.  I had hoped that this would be where the majority would hear this news first – but Twitter and Vaughan Roderick sadly intervened first.  I am glad nevertheless that my first interview on the issue was with the South Wales Guardian.  My plan had always been to announce the news through local media.  It’s local people that have put their trust in me over the last nine years and it was to them I wanted to explain my reasons for standing down at the next election.

Now the focus is already and quite properly turning to the question of who will represent this great constituency for the next decade – if we as a party can continue to earn the support of the electorate.  I will remain scrupulously neutral throughout the process for obvious reasons, but from the names I have already heard that intend to stand I am sure that we will have an excellent candidate in place within the next six to eight weeks – and I am sure more will put their hat in the ring over the next few weeks.  If the local party accepts my resignation, then tomorrow an application will be made to the party’s Chief Executive to open nominations.  Candidates must apply within twenty eight days and must already be members of the party and members of the party’s Approved Candidates List or register an application to join  by noon tomorrow.  So if you’re interested, get your skates on.

Update:  the constituency party have very wisely decided to extend the process and open nominations on Monday 28th September.  So this means people who want to be candidates have this week now to make an application to be on the Candidates List.  People who want to vote also need to make sure they are fully paid-up members by Monday.   Five candidates have so far expressed an interest but more are expected during the coming week.

Further update: some commentators have suggested that Rhodri and myself are backing a particular candidate.  I have to reiterate, after speaking to Rhodri, that we are not supporting any one in particular and will play no part at all in the process – indeed we will not even vote.  Two of the potential candidates mentioned in many of  the blog posts used to work for me, and one was my election agent at the last election – so it’s hard to see how I could show any favouritism.  I have personally encouraged as many people as possible to put their names in the ring as I think the local party should have the widest possible field to choose from.  So there is no ‘Crown Prince’ in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, and this will certainly be no coronation.  I can certainly attest to the unpredictable nature of selection conferences here as I came from nowhere to win the nomination last time, beating the then ‘front-runner’,  and Chair of the party at the time, Marc Philips, as well as a strong field of other local candidates.     


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