Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Saturday, 20 February 2010

Elfyn Llwyd calls for withdrawal from Afghanistan

Elfyn Llwyd
Elfyn Llwyd said mounting casualties had driven his 'troops back' call

A call for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has been made by Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader at the party conference in Cardiff.

Elfyn Llwyd MP said that the men and women sent out to Afghanistan deserved "our care and assistance".

He criticised the UK government over the support offered to veterans.

He said: "We owe it to these young men and women to spend time and expertise in assisting them as they leave the service."

Before his speech, Mr Llwyd visited a specialist veterans' mental health service at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, which he said was an example of good practice.

Mr Llwyd said that as the casualties have mounted, he had become more and more convinced of the need to bring British troops back from Afghanistan.

He said: "The most heart-wrenching aspect of my work in the last few years has occurred every Wednesday at Prime Minister's Questions.

Defence agenda

"Every week, I hear the roll call of those killed in action. No-one can fail to sympathise with the families of the fallen and yes, it is time to bring them home."

According to Mr Llwyd, it is Plaid Cymru MPs in Westminster who are setting the national agenda on issues of defence, including care for veterans.

As a result of this, he believes more people are turning to Plaid as the only alternative to the status quo at Westminster.

He said: "I am in no doubt at all that this renewed trust in Plaid by the people is due to the difference that we're making as part of the government of Wales, but also at a Westminster level."

He also repeated the party leader's message that Plaid was aiming to increase the number of its MPs from three to five.

On Friday, party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said a hung parliament was likely after the general election and would be the "best outcome" for Wales.

He told delegates in Cardiff that his MPs would fight to protect public spending in Wales after the election.

He said the public no longer had confidence in either the Labour or Conservative parties.

Hung parliament 'best for Wales'
19 Feb 10 |  Wales politics
Plaid prepares for election fight
18 Feb 10 |  Wales

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