Leaked email re­veals AM’s un­hap­pi­ness with Plaid in As­sem­bly

Western Mail - - NEWS - Martin Ship­ton

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

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