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Sunday, 4 June, 2000, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Elis-Thomas in language row
Lord Elis-Thomas:
Lord Elis-Thomas: 'No need' for new language act
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg has joined the call for Dafydd Elis-Thomas to resign as the Welsh National Assembly's presiding officer.

The Welsh language group expressed its disappointment with the way he announced on Friday that there was no need for a new Welsh Language Act.



By making such comments he declares his support for the status quo

Spokesman, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg
Mr Elis-Thomas had said that there was enough goodwill to safeguard the language's future without a new act.

"In a discussion on this subject in the future, he cannot pretend he's unbiased," said a spokesman for Cymdeithas.

"He leads a debate that calls on the Assembly to support the demand for a new Welsh Language Act," a spokesman said.

"By making such comments he declares his support for the status quo."

The spokesman said it was "particularly unwise" for the presiding officer to comment at the Urdd Eisteddfod that the assembly had "done more for the language than Cymdeithas".

On Friday, Lord Elis-Thomas came in for criticism from former first secretary Alun Michael and the Wales Labour Party for publicly supporting a candidate in the race to become Plaid Cymru president.

'Partisan'

Lord Elis-Thomas had said he would be supporting Ieuan Wyn Jones to succeed Dafydd Wigley, who announced he would be stepping down last week.

The other declared front runners are Helen Mary Jones AM and Jill Evans MEP.

But Labour called Lord Elis-Thomas's backing of Mr Jones "wholly partisan" and Mr Michael urged him to think about his position as presiding officer, which is one of political neutrality.

Lord Elis-Thomas said he had declared his views as a matter of public interest and as a party member, not as presiding officer.

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