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8 June 1999: Wigley stages walkout

Welsh Assembly

It was a manifesto pledge that raised a few eyebrows in Wales.

In the run up to the 1999 European elections, Plaid Cymru stated that it would push for the establishment of a multi-function Welsh "embassy" in Brussels to "provide a shopfront for Wales in Europe".

Two days before the elections, the issue became a point of contention in the assembly.

Lynne Neagle AM condemned the policy during her Short Debate as a diversion of money from vital public services.

Her comments angered Plaid Cymru's leader, Dafydd Wigley, who was refused permission on three occasions to make a point of order.

The presiding officer, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, rejected his requests which led Mr Wigley to stage a walkout with his Plaid Cymru members.

Plaid Cymru cried foul play over Ms Neagle's speech, which they felt was more akin to a "party political broadcast".

The Labour European candidate Glenys Kinnock later rebuked Plaid for its walkout, calling them the "tantrum party of Wales".

Plaid Cymru went on to win two of the five Welsh European seats available in the 1999 European election. Labour also won two seats whilst the Conservatives claimed the final seat.

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