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MP will not re-join Plaid Cymru group after assault on wife

Jonathan Edwards (Richard Townshend/UK Parliament/PA)
Jonathan Edwards (Richard Townshend/UK Parliament/PA)

An MP who was suspended by Plaid Cymru following a police caution for assaulting his wife has said he will not now re-join the party at Westminster just two days after he had the whip restored.

Jonathan Edwards, the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, had been suspended since July 2020. 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 – Mr Edwards said he would not be re-joining in order to allow for a “period of calm reflection”.

Separately, party leader Adam Price called on him to step down as an MP and he promised a review of the party’s disciplinary procedures to be carried out as a matter of “urgency”.

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

“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.”

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

He expressed concern 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 part 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.”