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MP who assaulted wife has Plaid Cymru whip restored

Jonathan Edwards, the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, has had the Plaid Cymru whip restored (PA)
Jonathan Edwards, the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, has had the Plaid Cymru whip restored (PA)

An MP who was cautioned by police after assaulting his wife has had his party whip restored.

Jonathan Edwards will once again be able to represent Plaid Cymru at Westminster following his suspension in July 2020.

The member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr had been sitting as an independent since he was arrested at home on suspicion of assault.

He was allowed to re-join the pro-independence party last month as a regular member, a decision which caused division among its members.

The latest decision to re-admit Mr Edwards to the Westminster group was taken despite a “significant majority” of the party’s ruling body recommending against it.

The party’s chairwoman Beca Brown said Mr Edwards’s earlier suspension “reflected the serious nature of [his] police caution and Plaid Cymru’s unequivocal stance that all forms of harassment, abuse and violence are unacceptable”.

Ms Brown said the disciplinary panel restored his membership after he expressed “sincere remorse”.

The whip was restored to Mr Edwards after the party received “further procedural advice”, she added.

She said the party will be undertaking an independent review to ensure it becomes “truly free from a culture of misogyny”.

Former party leader Leanne Wood has previously called for Mr Edwards to be banned from Plaid if the party is “serious about stamping out misogyny and domestic abuse”.

Senedd member Sian Gwennlian, Plaid’s National Executive Committee, told news website Nation Cymru: “If an elected politician has severely damaged the integrity, the credibility and the reputation of our party by contravening one of its core values, then that person should no longer represent the collective, democratic voice of our members.”

Details of the violent incident are unknown but at the time Mr Edwards said it was “the biggest regret of my life” and his wife released a statement saying she accepted her husband’s apology.

In a statement after the whip was restored, Mr Edwards said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly again for the action that led to my suspension and express my deep remorse for the hurt which I have caused.

“The past two years have been a period of deep reflection in which I enrolled on a domestic violence awareness course which has helped me understand the impact my action had on others.

“On the course, we discussed in great detail how to have and maintain healthy relationships and I believe that not only should these discussions form part of our education system, but that there should be far greater investment in similar courses.

“I take full responsibility and fully accept the police caution I was issued.

“My colleagues in the Westminster group and the wider party have championed the rights of women and all victims of abusive behaviour. I regret that my actions took the focus away from this important work.”