Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Ron Davies' Forward Wales party folds

John Marek and Ron Davies
John Marek and Ron Davies both used to be Labour MPs and AMs

Forward Wales, the party which gave a home to former Labour Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, is to be disbanded.

Its registration with the Electoral Commission will not be renewed next month, so it will then cease to exist.

That has fuelled speculation that Mr Davies could join Plaid Cymru and stand as its Caerphilly candidate at next year's assembly election.

Mr Davies would not be drawn on that, but confirmed that he would support Plaid at this year's general election.

On BBC Radio Wales he also pledged his support for Caerphilly council leader Lindsay Whittle's bid to become Plaid MP for the constituency.

Mr Davies said: "I think the membership of political parties is a matter for individuals, isn't it?

"In terms of my own focus, I will certainly be supporting Plaid in the general election.

"The next assembly election is some way in the future and we'll see what happens then."

'Deserting membership'

The left-of-centre party was founded by another former Labour AM and MP, John Marek, of Wrexham, in late 2003 to offer an alternative for those disaffected with the party, in particular over the Iraq war.

Recalling that time, Mr Davies said: "My own view and that of others was that the Labour Party was sort of falling off the edge of a cliff and people were deserting membership in droves."

Mr Davies said many of the issues which provided an impetus for the formation of Forward Wales were still relevant.

He said: "If you look at the big issues, the question of a proper parliament for Wales, the question of proper funding for Wales, the question of a proper relationship between Wales and England, the question of a proper industrial and economic policy - none of that has happened.

"I think that, in that sense, if you look at Wales today we're actually poorer and less well governed than we were ten years ago despite devolution and despite all the European aid that we've had over the last decade."

At the last assembly election the votes obtained by Mr Davies, standing as an independent, and the then Plaid candidate Mr Whittle together exceeded the winning total of the current Caerphilly Labour AM, Jeff Cuthbert.

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