Rhun ap Iorwerth: 'We'll hold Labour's feet to the fire in the Senedd'

Plaid leader Rhun ap Iorwerth (far right) with the party's MPs (from left: Ben Lake, Llinos Medi, Liz Saville Roberts and Ann Davies)
-Credit: (Image: Plaid Cymru)

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." Those words by Helen Keller are as true about politics as they are about life itself.

Rishi Sunak cut a lone figure on that wet Wednesday in May. He called that shot alone, and was then rejected by the country and was unable to stem the revolt of his party.

Only 18 months previously, behind the same lectern in Downing Street, he had promised to ‘unite our country - not with words, but with action’.

How hollow that promise proved to be. Divided parties don’t win elections, as the old adage goes.

Read more: Why the general election result is really bad news for Welsh Labour

Read more: 'It was an appalling campaign': Wales' ousted Tories on what went wrong

With that in mind, I couldn’t be prouder of Plaid Cymru’s positive, united and energetic campaign which has returned four brilliant MPs to Westminster - the highest proportion ever of Welsh MPs, with our highest ever share of the national vote

Ann Davies, Ben Lake, Llinos Medi and Liz Saville Roberts are a formidable quartet who I know will never let the UK Labour Government get away with ignoring Wales’s voice. The fact that three out of the four Plaid MPs are women shows how far we’ve come as a party, but this progress is something we will never stop pursuing further.

On HS2 consequentials, a new funding deal for Wales, scrapping the two-child benefit cap, and the devolution of the Crown Estates, policing and justice, Plaid Cymru’s Members of Parliament will always demand fairness for our communities.

Our nation has given a clear verdict on the Tories, wiping them from the electoral map, but the drop in Labour’s share of the vote shows that Vaughan Gething’s calamitous first few months in office as First Minister has not gone unnoticed among the electorate either.

His predecessor Mark Drakeford has already said that Labour will need to look under the bonnet to analyse this decrease in support, but a cursory glance is enough to tell anyone that the party’s brand has been greatly damaged in Wales.

Plaid's four MPs (from left: Ben Lake, Llinos Medi, Liz Saville Roberts, Ann Davies)
Plaid's four MPs (from left: Ben Lake, Llinos Medi, Liz Saville Roberts, Ann Davies) -Credit:Plaid Cymru
Plaid MPs, family members and supporters at Westminster
Plaid MPs, family members and supporters at Westminster -Credit:Plaid Cymru

Division distracts, and so whilst Labour in Wales were deciding whether to back or sack their leader (a quandary that’s still not going away), parachuting candidates from London and aping Tory policy, Plaid Cymru candidates and activists nationwide were setting out our positive vision for a fairer, more ambitious future.

This paid dividends in seats such as Cardiff West where our excellent candidate Kiera Marshall secured Plaid Cymru’s best ever result in the constituency with a 13% swing from Labour.

Momentum is with us, and we’re determined to keep up the hard work - the 2026 Senedd Elections present us with the opportunity for real change.

Because we know that whatever Vaughan Gething does to try and keep the wheels turning in Wales, Labour’s engine room will always be located in Westminster.

If the General Election campaign taught us anything it is that whatever Labour say in the Senedd, party headquarters in London will always have the last word.

It taught us something else too. If you leave people’s concerns unanswered, their fears to be weaponised, their sense of hope to be extinguished, you leave the door ajar for reactionary forces to pervade our politics.

That is why Plaid Cymru will always stand up to those intent on sowing division – not with a tepid ‘no’ or a timid headshake, but with real challenge to prejudice, hostility and hate whenever and wherever they arise.

And to those who were drawn to register a vote of protest because of genuine feelings of being ignored and disenfranchised, we must continue to show that we too share that frustration at the UK establishment and will stand up on your behalf, but with a positive vision of hope and change.

Over the next few months we will move forward with purpose, with unity, and with a clear sense of where we’re going together.

As Labour in the Senedd learn the meaning of accountability now that there are no Tories in Westminster to blame for all their woes, I and my Plaid Cymru colleagues will be holding their feet to the fire as real opposition, focused on our next goal of offering real change in 2026.