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Monday, 1 October, 2001, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
MP attacks Labour's language record
Paul Flynn MP
Paul Flynn has called for support in Welsh-speaking areas
The Wales Labour Party has been attacked by one of its own MPs for "shamefully" ignoring the state of the Welsh language in order to further the party's electoral position.

Newport West MP Paul Flynn, speaking in the Welsh language current affairs magazine Barn, said greater efforts had to be made to protect the Welsh language.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM
Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM: Attack on Welsh language groups
Mr Flynn said some Labour politicians were guilty of joining a tabloid "witchhunt" against the language "in the belief that it is politically advantageous".

He said there was hesititation by officials in their efforts to preserve Welsh-speaking areas of Wales.

"Sadly, most of the party leadership is content to stand aside and collect the electoral dividend of Plaid Cymru's divisions," Mr Flynn said in the article.

"Shamefully, some Labour representatives have joined the (tabloid) witchhunt in the belief that it is politically advantageous."

He went on to add his voice to calls for "restrictions on settlement" in Welsh-speaking communities, which face problems of in-migration and rising house prices.

It is not the first time Mr Flynn has confronted the Wales Labour Party.

English is the all conquering 'lingua anglia' of the world and needs no help

Paul Flynn MP

In his 1999 book Dragons and Poodles, the MP dissected the bitter leadership contest between Alun Michael and Rhodri Morgan, which he described as a "stitch-up".

Mr Flynn's article adds to the continuing row over the Welsh language, which re-emerged last January when Gwynedd councillor Seimon Glynn warned against English settlers becoming a "drain on resources".

Other leading figures inside Plaid Cymru and senior Welsh speakers have also spoken out on the issue.

Last month, Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas accused Welsh language groups of failing to address the needs of Welsh speaking communities.

In the Barn article, Mr Flynn wrote: "During the passage of the Welsh Language Act, one MP demanded 'equal support' in Wales for Welsh and English. That would discriminate against Welsh.
Seimon Glyn: Re-ignited language debate
Seimon Glyn: Re-ignited language debate

"English is the all conquering 'lingua anglia' of the world and needs no help.

"Rhodri Morgan once spoke of the possible fate of the language being spoken only by university graduates.

"That fate can be avoided if we build on the 'iaith y werin'.

"The warning on the threat to Welsh should be heeded by all parties.

"Welsh is still alive as the natural mother tongue in a substantial number of communities.

"Only positive action will guarantee survival. That will include restrictions on settlement similar to those demanded on Exmoor (National Park)."

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