[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Plaid is urged to nominate peers
By Guto Thomas
Political correspondent

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid Cymru's assembly group leader
Ieuan Wyn Jones negotiated the party's coalition deal with Labour
Plaid Cymru may reverse its policy of refusing to nominate individuals to become members of the House of Lords.

Plaid parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd said new powers for the Welsh assembly meant there was a need for Plaid peers.

Mr Llwyd told the Plaid conference in Llandudno peers were required to ensure planned legislation for Wales was not blocked at Westminster.

It is the first Plaid conference since the party entered into government in coalition with Labour in the assembly.

Party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones had warned his party ahead of the conference that it could not live in the "luxury of opposition".

The new Government of Wales Act 2006 allows the Welsh assembly to make its own laws in key devolved areas once permission has been granted by Parliament.

Mr Llwyd believes that many in the House of Lords will not be keen on rubber-stamping such permission, known as Orders in Council.

He told the conference: "We therefore need to have hard-working members of the House of Lords who will be able to ensure that not just our views are reflected, but the views of the people of Wales are properly reflected, and that these Orders in Council are not blocked".

Rhodri Morgan [L] and Ieuan Wyn Jones [R] with the Welsh rugby squad
Plaid leaders want to keep some distance between them and Labour

Mr Llwyd called for an urgent review of the policy and the conference is expected to endorse this review in a closed internal session later this afternoon.

Dafydd Elis Thomas, the Plaid Dwyfor Meirionnydd AM and presiding officer of the assembly, is a peer, although he sits as a cross-bencher.

Meanwhile, Plaid added its voice to the campaign for a referendum on the new European Union reform treaty.

Delegates unanimously backed an emergency motion calling for a referendum on the treaty when it is finalised by EU leaders, and the party's national council will decide which side Plaid would back.

Jill Evans, the party's sole MEP, who proposed the motion on behalf of the party's national executive told delegates that opt-out agreed by the UK on the Charter of Fundamental Rights meant that British citizens would have fewer rights "especially workers' rights, than the rest of the EU".

On its opening day the conference was also discussing potentially contentious issues on women-only candidate selection and its opposition to nuclear power stations.

A number of branches from across Wales have asked for the policy to be changed of placing women at the top of regional lists in the Welsh assembly election.

There has been resentment among some grassroots members that strong male candidates such as former party leader Dafydd Wigley were not in a position to be elected to Cardiff Bay last May.

The nuclear issue is potentially problematic for the party leadership, since Mr Jones supports in principle a possible replacement station to the one at Wylfa in his own constituency, Ynys Mon.

Otherwise, a planned landmark speech by Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones has had to be shelved.

Ms Jones had been due to address the conference on Thursday afternoon and would have been the first minister from Plaid to do so. Following the latest foot-and-mouth outbreak, she remained with her departmental team in Cardiff.

Ieuan Wyn Jones will address delegates on Friday, when he is expected to deliver a rallying call for the party to concentrate all its efforts to make a real difference in government.

Mr Jones is also expected to make a thinly veiled criticism of the party's existing policy not to send any representatives to the House of Lords.


SEE ALSO

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific