MP who assaulted wife should stand down, says Plaid Cymru leader

Jonathan Edwards’s membership of Welsh party sends out ‘wrong message’, says Adam Price

The leader of Plaid Cymru has called for an MP who received a police caution for assaulting his wife to stand down.

Jonathan Edwards, the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, had been suspended since July 2020 but on Thursday the party said he was being readmitted to its Westminster group.

But after his wife, Emma Edwards, denounced the move, – which was opposed by a “significant majority” of the party’s ruling body – Edwards said he would not be rejoining in order to allow for a “period of calm reflection”.

On Saturday, the party leader Adam Price, called on Edwards to resign as an MP and promised that a review of the party’s disciplinary procedures would be carried out as a matter of urgency.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Price said: “As stated, it is my firm belief that Jonathan Edwards cannot continue to represent Plaid Cymru in Westminster and should resign immediately.

“I also call on Jonathan Edwards to leave the party. His actions do not represent our values and his position as an MP sends the wrong message out to domestic abuse survivors in Wales and beyond.”

He added: “Our disciplinary processes must change to give victims of gender-based violence a central role in any inquiries. This work will begin immediately and will be given the urgency and gravity it clearly deserves.”

In a statement on his Facebook page, Edwards described the assault that led to his suspension as an “isolated incident” and said he had subsequently enrolled on a domestic violence awareness course.

He expressed concern that there was no space in public life for those who had made mistakes to show “genuine remorse” and criticised his treatment by some in the party.

“Over the past two years there have been periods when I have felt suicidal as my personal and professional life crumbled and I was offered no safeguarding by the party,” he said.

“I am also concerned that in recent weeks, senior politicians within the party have misused their positions of power by subjecting me to vindictive and vengeful coordinated political attacks.”

Mandu Reid, the leader of the Women’s Equality party, which has stood candidates in constituencies associated with MPs facing abuse allegations, had described the readmission of Edwards to the Plaid benches as “appalling”.