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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 13:32 GMT
Wales@Westminster newslog

The Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life

Friday, 3 November

Spanish inquisition

posted by David | 1320 BST |

Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd rather generously gave a plug for this blog during an interview on Dragon's Eye last night. You can watch the interview yourself.

He was rather less generous about my suggestion, made here and on BBC Radio Wales, that Plaid Cymru MPs were not impressed with Mr Llwyd's decision to miss the Plaid Cymru-sponsored debate on Iraq at Westminster to attend meetings in Madrid.

"Absolute nonsense," said Mr Llwyd. "Yes it was important but it was a group decision."

His absence - to hold talks on tax rates and devolution that will influence Plaid Cymru policy - was agreed beforehand by the MPs, he said.

That agreement was "bankable" to this day, despite the Conservative decision, signalled on Monday, to join forces with nationalist MPs and vote against the government.

"It was a big day for Plaid Cymru," said Mr Llwyd of the debate, "but equally the visit to Madrid was very important for Plaid Cymru as well."

Mr Llwyd was "paired" with a government minister, who was able to continue her visit to Africa in the knowledge she would not be summoned back to help stave off a Commons defeat. Asked whether anyone from the Plaid Cymru parliamentary group had contacted him to suggest he return, his reply was emphatic: "Absolutely not."

His meeting with meeting with two high-ranking civil servants finished around 1100 on Tuesday.

Asked why he hadn't returned to London for the 1900 vote in the Commons, he told Dragon's Eye: "I could not because I'd pre-booked a cheap flight in actual fact for the following day."


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