Jonathan Edwards (Welsh politician)
David Jonathan Edwards (born 26 April 1976) is a Welsh politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr since 2010. He was elected as a Plaid Cymru MP, but had the whip withdrawn in May 2020 after he was arrested on suspicion of assault. He currently sits as an Independent MP after the party's disciplinary panel suspended him from the party.
Edwards in 2020
|Member of Parliament |
for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
|Assumed office |
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Adam Price|
|Born||26 April 1976|
Capel Hendre, Carmarthenshire, Wales
|Political party||Independent (2020-present)|
David Jonathan Edwards was born in Carmarthenshire on 26 April 1976. He was educated at Ysgol Maes yr Yrfa before studying history and politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He went on to complete a postgraduate degree in international history.
The MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Adam Price, stood down in the 2010 general election. Edwards was the new candidate for Plaid Cymru, and he was elected with 35.6% of the vote. In January 2012, Edwards submitted an early day motion for a Cornish Assembly, being supported by fellow Plaid Cymru MPs Hywel Williams and Elfyn Llywd and Paul Flynn of Labour. He ran Leanne Wood's successful campaign in the 2012 Plaid Cymru leadership election. In 2014, Edwards criticised Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton for describing himself as British whilst representing the British and Irish Lions. In the run up to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum he was criticised for saying that unionists "loathe" their country.
Edwards was re-elected in the 2015 general election with 38.4% of the vote. He was appointed as the leader of the Plaid Cymru group in the House of Commons in May 2015, a role he held until October 2015. Edwards supports foxhunting and backed the Conservatives' plans to relax the Hunting Act 2004 in 2015. The Welsh Conservatives criticised a leaflet Edwards wrote for Price in 2016 describing him as Mab Darogan, a figure from folklore destined to force the English out of Britain. In 2016, he called for the return of Welsh bank notes, which Plaid Cymru proposed could be issued by the Lloyds Banking Group. He also called for the renaming of the Bank of England to "Sterling Central Bank" to better reflect the UK as a whole. Acting as Plaid Cymru's Brexit spokesperson, Edwards described the Brexit bill as the "biggest job-killing act in Welsh economic history". He introduced an amendment which would have required the government to report on the effect on Wales' public finances, which was defeated.
He held his parliamentary seat during the 2017 general election with 39.3% of the vote. In a speech at Plaid Cymru's March 2018 spring conference, Edwards warned against his party moving any further to the left politically: “I would appeal to my party not to respond to the electoral challenges we face from Corbyn's Labour by basing our political strategy on the intricacies of socialist theory.” Later that year, he criticised Wood as not understanding how important Brexit was, and endorsed Adam Price in the ensuing 2018 Plaid Cymru leadership election. In March 2019, Edwards voted for an amendment tabled by members of The Independent Group calling for a second public vote on EU membership.
Edwards was re-elected in the 2019 United Kingdom general election with 38.9% of the vote.
He was arrested on suspicion of assault on 20 May 2020, and suspended from the Plaid Cymru group during the police investigation, sitting as an independent. On 27 June, Jonathan Edwards MP accepted a police caution for domestic violence against his wife and he was suspended from Plaid Cymru pending an investigation. He said he was "deeply sorry" and it was "the biggest regret" of his life, his wife Emma accepted his apology. Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire Fay Jones said Plaid Cymru response was too slow, had failed to act and she believed that Plaid had "turn(ed) a blind eye" on the issue. On 15 July 2020 Edwards was officially suspended for 12 months after the disciplinary panel concluded its internal investigation. Alun Ffred Jones, the chairman of Plaid Cymru, said "All forms of harassment, abuse and violence are unacceptable, and this has been reflected in the verdict." Edwards will have to face the panel again, if he wishes to rejoin the party, in 12 months to show that he has reflected and learnt from his actions.
Edwards lives in Ammanford. He is married to Emma Edwards and has three children.
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