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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 19:30 GMT 20:30 UK
What went wrong for Plaid?
Ieuan Wyn Jones and his colleagues
Plaid Cymru performed poorly in the Welsh assembly elections

When former Plaid leader Dafydd Wigley said the assembly election results were a "disaster" for the party, it was a damning verdict on his successor Ieuan Wyn Jones.

Mr Wigley - Plaid's most successful leader - also listed in stark terms where the campaign had failed. Among those points was "leadership".

He said they also included a "dismal" failure to inspire voters who had previously backed Plaid.

The writing was on the wall for Ieuan Wyn Jones.

The first major indication that his position was under threat came the day after the election, when Simon Thomas, one of Plaid's four MPs, said he thought Mr Jones would be challenged for his job.

The Ceredigion MP told BBC Wales's Called To Order programme that he expected Jones' leadership to be challenged at some point.

I think Ieuan at some stage will be challenged
Simon Thomas

But Mr Jones was defiant. Plaid headquarters issued a statement saying he had shown "grit and courage in the face of sniping from other parties".

The statement also included comments of support from senior party figures like former leader Dafydd Elis Thomas and chairman John Dixon.

"These results are undoubtedly disappointing, but it's simply not in my nature to run away from problems," Mr Jones had said.

"I'm a fighter not a quitter. We need to look very hard at what went wrong, and also to listen to what the voters are saying to us on a whole range of issues.

"As leader of the party I have to make sure that we face up to the facts, learn the lessons, and move forward."

Simon Thomas
Simon Thomas said a leadership challenge would be made

He attempted to shore up his position over the bank holiday weekend urging party members to "keep a cool head and a calculating heart".

He said party members at both senior and grassroots levels told him they did not want a leadership election.

But Dafydd Wigley had already attacked the election result as a "disaster" and called on the party to investigate every aspect of the campaign.

He criticised the Plaid group for helping to vote one of their number, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, back as presiding officer. This meant Plaid had the same number of "active" AMs as the Conservatives.

I'm a fighter, not a quitter
Ieuan Wyn Jones speaking before his resignation

This coming from a senior figure like Mr Wigley was bad news. He had led Plaid to its greatest success at the 1999 election, winning key seats in Labour heartlands.

Now Plaid had been driven back to its own traditional areas - losing to Labour all the seats is unexpectedly won four years before - and its only constituency victories were in the north and west.

Mr Wigley said the party had campaigned on the wrong issues and that there had been little face-to-face canvassing, and very few window posters.

The party, he insisted, had to look quickly at "all aspects of last week's disaster".

These included "policy, presentation, organisation, the role of the assembly group, and leadership".




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PARTY CONST REGN +/- TOT
LAB
30
0
2
30
PC
5
7
-5
12
CON
1
10
2
11
LD
3
3
0
6
OTH
1
0
1
1
After 40 of 40 constituency seats
After 5 of 5 regions declared



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