Llyr Gruffydd has been confirmed as the interim leader of Plaid Cymru after Adam Price stood down in the wake of a report into bullying, misogyny and harassment in the party.
Mr Price quit as head of the Welsh pro-independence party on Wednesday night days after a damning review found evidence of a “toxic” culture within the group which had particularly let down female staff and discouraged people from speaking out.
The party’s national council, which was meeting in Aberystwyth on Saturday morning, ratified Mr Gruffydd’s appointment after he was nominated by Plaid’s Senedd members.
He is expected to formally take over leadership duties from Mr Price on Wednesday, with nominations for a new permanent leader closing on June 16 and the winner announced in the summer.
Following the announcement, Mr Gruffydd promised to “reflect, reform and renew” the party.
“It is an immense honour for me to be entrusted with the responsibility of leading Plaid Cymru until a new leader is in post in the summer,” he said.
“Despite it being short, my tenure as the interim leader of Plaid Cymru comes at a critical juncture for the party.
“We’ve been reflecting, we are reforming and we will renew our mission in light of the findings of Project Pawb.
“Its findings run counter to our core beliefs and values.
“In our period of reflection we remind ourselves of what Plaid Cymru aspires to be – an inclusive party, a party that values its staff, a party founded on the best principles of progressive action – with fairness and equality embedded in its DNA.
— Plaid Cymru (@Plaid_Cymru) May 13, 2023
“Accelerating the pace of reform will be the priority for the political, professional and voluntary wing of the party.
“By doing this we can renew our purpose, delivering the key aspects of our manifesto through the co-operation agreement, offering solutions when Wales’ interests aren’t being served and working harder than ever to protect our communities.
“Moving forward, united, we will put down new and stronger foundations with our ambition undimmed.”
There is growing concern within the party that there is no obvious successor to the permanent leader role.
Among names to be suggested as the next possible leader are Rhun ap Iorweth, the member for Ynys Mon, who is poised to stand as an MP.
Should he still decide to run for Parliament, it would make him ineligible for the Senedd chief seat.
Delyth Jewell MS, who represents the South Wales East region, has also been mentioned, as has Senedd speaker Elin Jones, who has served Ceredigion in the Welsh Parliament since 1999.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Gruffydd confirmed that as interim leader he was not allowed under party rules to put himself forward for the job on a permanent basis and would not publicly be backing any candidate.
“I am not taking up this role because of some personal ambition to be the leader of the party,” he told the PA news agency.
“The fact that I’m now ineligible to do that underlines that I’m doing this up to a sense of duty to the party, recognising that I can and will play a particular role in the interim.
“One of the advantages of being interim leader is that I will in no way, shape or form get involved in that discussion.
“It will be wholly inappropriate for me as the acting leader to express any preference in relation to that.”
Mr Gruffydd said he had not witnessed any of the types of incidents referred to in the report but said some occurred before he was elected to the Senedd in 2011.
“What that tells me of course is that the processes we had in place, not only were they deficient, clearly, but they weren’t even being utilised effectively in the form that they were in,” he said.
“There’s a cultural change that needs to happen around that and there’s been a default maybe in the past to make a formal complaint if there’s an issue.
“If you’re a victim… just passing the buck back to the victim is absolutely not OK and those are the kinds of things that now need to change and I’m confident we’ll change.”
The North Wales MS said Plaid was still 100% committed to the Co-operation Agreement with the Welsh Government.
“I’ve made that clear to Mark Drakeford in an informal discussion that we had a few days ago and he reiterated the points that he has made publicly that the agreement isn’t between individuals – it’s between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru,” he added.
“As far as we’re concerned nothing has changed and we are 100% signed up and committed to fulfilling what we’ve already agreed to do, which is to see the Co-operation Agreement through on its three-year term and to fulfil the policies within it.”