Leaked email reveals AM’s unhappiness with Plaid in Assembly
PLAID Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins sent an email to her National Assembly group colleagues in August complaining about a lack of team spirit and a lack of communication from party leader Leanne Wood.
The email, which has been leaked to the Western Mail, suggested Plaid AMs were not working together and needed to up their game.
Ms Jenkins has been a regional AM for South Wales West since 2007 and currently chairs the Assembly’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee.
In her email she said: “We have seen quite a few stories in the press over the summer but no communication either from Leanne or between us as a group. I think this is pretty worrying.
“We have seen a story about Leanne by Adam [Price] in the last week of term in July, and the idea floated of a new political party. Rhun [ap Iorwerth] has spoken about aspirations of future leadership to the BBC, and Simon [Thomas] has said publicly we need to raise our game as a group.
“If Simon thinks we need to raise our game, how do we do this, and why can we not discuss this properly, openly, together?
“Because now party members are openly discussing this, is this what the intention was?”
Ms Jenkins went on to write that there had also been an anonymous source from the Plaid group saying Ms Wood needed to stand down as leader and that she had lost support in the group.
The AM added: “Taking to social media to say otherwise is utterly pointless, as the reality is that someone briefed this to the press and it will damage all of us, not just Leanne. If one of you has this view, I would urge you to raise it at the September away day or to refrain from briefing the press in this cowardly fashion again.
“Can I suggest instead of the mantra of ‘appearing’ that we are united as a group, that we try and BE united in how we act and work? That includes me trying too, please be assured!”
Ms Jenkins went on: “I have felt an immense sense of isolation in the group for a long while, due to a lack of any form of team spirit or support. I often feel judged and pointed at as opposed to being respected as part of a team of people who have each others’ backs (this is how I feel and I am sorry if you disagree).
“There will be no point at all in an away day in September if it is just that – a day, a fluke, a token gesture, and then we continue to work as is, without any communication or plan or co-interest in one another.
“We need to recognise that we all have our weaknesses, yes, but that we have strong points too. We need to assess how we can use our talents together for the wider good of the nation. Not all act as individuals without regard for one another. I don’t see that this is happening at the moment, and in the absence of any discussion between us at all on any real level, I wanted to say this here as opposed to saying anything to the press.”
When we contacted Plaid for a response, we were sent a statement from Ms Jenkins, who said: “This email was purely intended as a private conversation and it is disappointing to see it in the public domain. However, many months have passed since then and the climate has changed considerably.
“The Plaid Cymru Assembly group is united and focused on scrutinising the government and offering a positive alternative.”
> ‘I have felt an immense sense of isolation in the group for a long while, due to a lack of any form of team spirit or support’ – Bethan Jenkins AM
> Plaid leader Leanne Wood