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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008, 16:45 GMT
Wigley is nominated as Plaid peer
Dafydd Wigley casts his vote
Dafydd Wigley voting in the ballot which should make him a peer
Former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley is set to return to front line politics as one of the first party members to be nominated for a peerage.

He is one of three party members put forward to enter the House of Lords as party nominees for the first time.

The other nominees are another former Assembly Member, Janet Davies, and economic adviser Eurfyl ap Gwilym.

Plaid decided it needed peers because changes to the powers of the Welsh assembly will be approved in the Lords.

The vote at Plaid's national council in Pontrhydfendigaid, Ceredigion, follows the party's decision in November in favour of sending representatives to the upper house of Parliament.

Plaid had historically rejected creating its own peers because it wanted the Lords to be fully elected.

The final decision on creating peers rests with Downing Street, but the vote means Plaid honorary president Mr Wigley is likely to consolidate his prominent role in the party with a seat in the Lords.

Party members were asked to decide between six candidates to become nominees for peerages.

Ms Davies, who was a South West Wales AM from the assembly's first election until standing down last year, is a former leader of Taff Ely Council.

Mr ap Gwilym has been the party's national chair and director of research and he also advises the party's spending policies.

He is also the deputy chair of the Principality Building society.

PLAID PEERAGE NOMINEES
The Plaid candidates at Pontrhydfendigaid
Eurfyl ap Gwilym: Plaid economic adviser; deputy chair, Principality Building Society
Janet Davies: Plaid member since 1967; South Wales West AM, 1999-2007
Meinir Owen: Chair of Gwynedd Council; council member since 1999
Rhian Medi Roberts: Party worker at Westminster for 14 years
Dafydd Wigley: Honorary president; former MP and AM
Dafydd Williams: 20 years' service as Plaid chief organiser and national secretary

The new policy comes after the Government of Wales Act 2006 allowed the assembly government to make its own laws in key devolved areas, once permission has been granted by Parliament.

Plaid has decided that in order to ensure Welsh laws are passed, following approval by the Commons and Lords, then they need to have peers to approve so-called "orders in council". At least one will be a woman.

Assembly Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas is the only Plaid member to sit as a peer, but he sits as a cross-bencher and not as a party appointee.

During the party's conference in September, representatives agreed to review their policy. Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid's parliamentary leader, argued that peers were needed to ensure planned legislation for Wales was not blocked at Westminster.

  • A senior Plaid source says the national executive will recommend abandoning the rule that places women on the top of their regional candidates lists for assembly elections.

    The current rule has been controversial since it was introduced, with women placed on top of regional lists regardless of how many votes they receive.

    Party officials insisted it was necessary in order to attract more women to stand as candidates, but opponents said it discriminated against men.

    The executive will argue that it should be replaced by a so-called "zip system," where whoever receives the highest number of votes from party members will be placed on top of the regional list.

    The second place will then automatically be given to a candidate of the opposite sex.

    Party officials insisted that the new proposals would a compromise, rather than a complete U-turn.

    VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
    Dafydd Wigley gives The Politics Show Wales his reaction



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