Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

Plaid to review coalition record

Elliw Gwawr
BBC Wales political unit

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones (right)
Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones will look ahead in his speech

Plaid Cymru is to celebrate nine months as a party of government at its spring conference in Newport on Saturday.

The conference at the city's Riverfront Theatre will look back at recent achievements and look ahead to Plaid's plans for the future.

The party is in government for the first time in its history after the coalition deal with Labour following last May's Welsh assembly election.

AM Alun Ffred Jones said it had proved it was more than a party of protest.

Nerys Evans, Plaid Cymru's assembly member for Mid and West Wales, said the main message for the weekend would be the party's record since the coalition agreement.

"We've got a good record of our ministers delivering on a governmental level and we're very proud of that," she said.

"We've already seen a lot of the One Wales commitments being delivered."

Plaid Cymru is also eager to show that it is ready to respond to the challenges ahead of them.

Alun Ffred Jones AM
You have to take responsibility, and you have to accept that you can't do everything that you would like to do
Alun Ffred Jones AM

According to Arfon AM Alun Ffred Jones, the party has "taken a step forward by taking on the responsibility of being in government".

This will be the first time Plaid Cymru has held a conference in Newport and South Wales East AM Mohammed Asghar will open the conference.

The party leader and Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones will also make a speech on Saturday afternoon which will look forward to what the party wants to achieve over the next few years.

But the challenge for the party at the conference will be to try to unite the party and prove it has not lost its identity by going into coalition with Labour.


Some of the party's policy decisions since forming government have been controversial and have caused a rift amongst the party's grassroots.

The policy in Gwynedd to federalise and close some of the county's smaller schools has been fiercely opposed by many Plaid supporters and some high-profile members in the area have left the party in protest.

Many members across Wales have also criticised the Heritage Minister for providing only 200,000 a year to fund a new daily Welsh language paper.

According to former Plaid Cymru AM and MP Cynog Dafis this was a "blow for many people" and a large number of the party membership were "seriously disappointed".

"They understood it to be a clear commitment and I think its been a cause for concern that people in the assembly are now saying that there wasn't a clear commitment to establish a daily newspaper."

But according to Alun Ffred Jones, a difference in opinion among members is to be expected in a democratic party.

"That's the problem of course when you're in power," he said.

"You have to take responsibility, and you have to accept that you can't do everything that you would like to do."

During the conference attention will also be given to the referendum on a full parliament for Wales

Llanelli AM Helen Mary Jones is expected to make a speech on this issue on Saturday afternoon.

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Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones explains why the conference is being held in Newport.

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