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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 May, 2003, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Jones' downfall 'no plot'
Helen Mary Jones
Helen Mary Jones said there was no plot to change party leader

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Helen Mary Jones has insisted there was no plot to oust leader Ieuan Wyn Jones.

The Mid and West Wales AM was one of four people Plaid's Director of Elections, Elwyn Vaughan, said should be disciplined for plotting against Mr Jones.

Mr Jones resigned on Thursday after being told he had lost the support of half Plaid's remaining 12 AMs.

But Ms Jones told BBC Wales on Sunday that there had been no organised plot to force the party leader out.

There was no plot, there was no conspiracy, there was a series of misunderstandings
Helen Mary Jones

She said: "What we had was four friends having a meal together, expressing concerns and worries.

"Then we had (South Wales West AM) Dai Lloyd worrying about Ieuan going into a National Executive meeting thinking he had support that wasn't that strong and telling him.

"There was no plot, there was no conspiracy, there was a series of misunderstandings."

But Ms Jones said that the party needed change following its poor performance in the assembly election and did not rule out standing for the leadership herself.

She added: "Personally I felt that we did need a change of leadership, if not now then in a year's time.

"I'm still thinking about it (standing for the leadership).

Director of Elections Elwyn Vaughan
Elwyn Vaughan hit out at 'vipers' in the party

"I'm not ruling myself out, but I'm not ruling myself in."

At a meeting of Plaid's National Executive in Aberystwyth on Saturday, the party's Director of Elections, Elwyn Vaughan, had called for four AMs to be disciplined over Mr Jones' resignation.

He added: "The party is the ownership of its members, not a bunch of prima donnas and vipers in Cardiff Bay."

Mr Jones stood down after Plaid lost five of its 17 seats in the previous week's assembly election.

He ended his three-year leadership after being told he had lost the support of half of the party's remaining AMs.

Plaid plans to elect a new leader by their party conference in mid-September.

Nominations for the presidency will open on Monday.

Ieuan Wyn Jones
Ieuan Wyn Jones resigned after Plaid poor election showing

Campaigning is expected go on through the summer with nominations closing on 4 July.

Several Plaid figures have indicated that they may stand in the leadership election.

Elfyn Llwyd, who leads Plaid's four MPs at Westminster, has not ruled out standing, while Pauline Jarman, the leader of Rhondda Cynon Taff council, has already said that she may fight for the party's top job.

Other possible candidates include AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas and MEP Jill Evans.

But several leading figures have ruled themselves out.

They include former leader Dafydd Wigley, Ceredigion MP Simon Thomas and AMs Janet Ryder and Dai Lloyd.

Mr Jones will remain both party president and leader of the assembly group until the leadership election.

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