Robert Griffiths (politician)

Robert Griffiths (born 21 April 1952) is a Welsh political activist and the current General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain. He was elected by the party's Executive Committee in January 1998, in place of Mike Hicks.[2]

Robert Griffiths
Robert Griffiths in 2011
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain
Assumed office
January 1998
Preceded byMike Hicks
Leader of the Welsh Socialist Republican Movement
In office
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Personal details
Robert David Griffiths

(1952-04-21) 21 April 1952 (age 69)[1]
Cardiff, Wales
Political partyCommunist Party of Britain
Other political
Plaid Cymru (1974–78)
Welsh Socialist Republican Movement (1979–1982)
Communist Party of Great Britain (until 1988)

Early life

Griffiths was born in Cardiff and grew up in the suburb of Llanrumney, where he attended Bryn Hafod primary school. Afterwards he attended Cardiff High School,[3] and later went to the University of Bath to study economics. While at university he competed in boxing tournaments.[4]


He joined Plaid Cymru in 1973, after being impressed by Emrys Roberts' campaign in the Merthyr Tydfil by-election.[5] The following year in 1974, he began to work for Plaid Cymru as a parliamentary research officer. He stayed in the post until December 1979; it was a difficult year for the party, which had faced defeat in the Welsh devolution referendum and the loss of Gwynfor Evans' seat in the general election. With a reduced presence in Westminster the party had no need of a large parliamentary staff and Griffiths was made redundant.

In July 1979 he collaborated with Gareth Miles to publish Socialism for the Welsh People,[6][7] a pamphlet which was critical of Plaid Cymru for its "opportunism"[8] and alleged subservience to the British state. The pamphlet called for the creation of a Welsh Socialist Republican Movement,[9] which was founded by Griffiths, Miles and others in January 1980.[7] Griffiths served as the organisation's secretary and wrote for its magazine 'the Arrow' (Welsh: Y Saeth).[10]

During George Galloway's attempt to be selected as the Labour candidate for Rhondda in the 1983 general election, Griffiths brought him along to events and introduced him to local people.[11] However, Galloway failed to win the selection, and instead Allan Rogers stood as the Labour candidate. Rogers became the seat's MP.

The WSRM was investigated by the police in relation to a bombing campaign and several of its members were arrested, including Robert Griffiths.[12] However when the case was brought to trial in November 1983, Griffiths was found innocent of all charges.[13][14] Partly as a result of these events, the Welsh Socialist Republican Movement dissolved. Griffiths joined the Communist Party of Great Britain shortly afterwards.[15]

He has also previously served as Welsh president of the AUEW-TASS union.[16]

Griffiths was a speaker at the first Communist University in Wales, and he speaks regularly at national events of the Communist Party of Britain. He has also taken part in debates at the Oxford Union,[17][18] Cambridge Union Society[19] and Manchester Debating Union.[20] In February 2013, Griffiths was among those who gave their support to the People's Assembly in a letter published by The Guardian newspaper.[21] He continues to be an active supporter of the People's Assembly nationally and is also active in his local People's Assembly in Cardiff.

In 2016, Griffiths was unveiled as the chair of Left Leave, a campaign for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. The group is a coalition of political parties and organisations such as the Communist Party of Britain, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers and the Respect Party.

Elections contested

European Parliament

In the 1994 election, he stood on behalf of the Communist Party in the single-member South Wales Central constituency, winning 1,073 votes or 0.6% of the total. Later on, in the 2009 and 2014 elections, he stood as part of the No2EU electoral list in the multi-member Wales constituency.[22][23]

UK Parliament elections

All these elections were contested on behalf of the Communist Party.

Election Constituency Votes %
2001Newport East[16]173[25]0.6
2010Cardiff South & Penarth196[27]0.4
2012Cardiff South & Penarth[28]213[29]1.1
2015Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney186[30]0.6

Local elections

In 2008, he stood for the Splott ward of Cardiff council, winning 127 votes, or 3.4% of the total.[31]

Selected publications

  • Socialism for the Welsh People [Sosialaeth i'r Cymry] (PDF). Cardiff: Y Faner Goch. 1979. ASIN B0018TWNI4. OCLC 656712405. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 2019.
  • Turning to London: Labour's Attitude to Wales 1898-1956 (PDF). Abertridwr: Y Faner Goch. c. 1980. OCLC 940163761.
  • S.O. Davies – a socialist faith. Llandysul: Gomer. 1983. ISBN 0850888875. OL 3242844M.
  • Was Gramsci a Eurocommunist?. Cardiff Marxist Forum. 1985.
  • Streic! Streic! Streic!. Gwasg Taf. 1986. ISBN 0948469021. OL 4826101W.
  • Driven by ideals – a history of ASLEF. 2005. ASIN B001C72MGU.
  • Killing no murder: South Wales and the Great Railway Strike of 1911. Manifesto Press. 2009. ISBN 978190746401-0.
  • Which Road for China?. 2011. ISBN 9781908315076.
  • Britain Needs Public Ownership. Morning Star. 2012.
  • Granite and Honey. Manifesto Press. 2012. ISBN 9781907464096.
  • The EU, Brexit and class politics. Communist Party of Britain. February 2018.


  1. "Robert David Griffiths". YourNextMP. 2015. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015.
  2. "The Political Situation in Britain". New Worker. New Communist Party of Britain. April 1988. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012.; Clement, Barrie (22 February 1988). "'Star' strike marks Marx anniversary". The Independent. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012.
  3. "For a people's MP". Election Leaflets. Cardiff. 17 April 2010.
  4. "A Communist Christmas: In Conversation with Rob Griffiths". Soundcloud (Podcast). Desolation Radio. January 2018. Event occurs at 1:45.
  5. "A Communist Christmas: In Conversation with Rob Griffiths". Soundcloud (Podcast). Desolation Radio. January 2018. Event occurs at 22:18.
  6. Madyn. "Sosialaeth i'r Cymry". Gweriniaeth y Gweithiwr (in Welsh). Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  7. Ellis, Peter (1985). the Celtic revolution: a study in anti-imperialism. Talybont, Ceredigion: Y Lolfa. pp. 93–95. ISBN 9780862430962. OL 1812565W.
  8. Osmond, John (June 1984). "Chapter 2". Police conspiracy?. Talybont, Ceredigion: Y Lolfa. p. 27. ISBN 0862430771. What characteristics other than compromise, cowardice, vacillation, gradualism and opportunism could we expect from a Party whose leadership and many of its most influential members are petty-bourgeois, non-conformist and pacifist?
  9. Mann, Steve (April 1980). "Review of Gareth Miles and Robert Griffiths' Socialism for the Welsh People". Socialist Challenge. Archived from the original on 25 June 2013.
  10. Tim Richards WSRM / Cymru Goch (video). 24 September 2014. 3 minutes in.
  11. George Galloway speaking at Merthyr Tydfil (video). 30 March 2015. 2 minutes in.
  12. Osmond, John (June 1984). Police conspiracy?. Talybont, Ceredigion: Y Lolfa. ISBN 0862430771.
  13. "Latest Welsh political trial" (PDF). CARN. No. 44. Celtic League. Winter 1984. p. 9.
  14. "Statements by Defendants". Y Faner Goch. No. 14. Winter 1983–84.
  15. Jenkins, Mike (7 August 2012). "The Legacy of Cymru Goch".
  16. Dominic, MacAskill. "the Communist Party Election Site". Welsh Communist Party. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008.
  17. Don't dream the American Dream (video). Oxford Union. 1 March 2013.; "Oxford Union debate rejects the American Dream". 21centurymanifesto. 24 January 2013. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013.
  18. Socialism does work (video). Oxford Union. 28 November 2013.
  19. This House Believes Capitalism Has Failed (video). Cambridge Union Society. 4 October 2012.; "Cambridge Union debate". Cambridge Communists. 9 October 2012. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013.
  20. Taylor, Millia (11 October 2013). "Never take financial advice from someone who has less money than you". the Tab Manchester. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013.
  21. "People's Assembly Against Austerity opening letter". the Guardian. 5 February 2013. p. 33.
  22. Parry-Jones, Bryn (7 June 2009). "Election for the European Parliament electoral region of Wales". Pembrokeshire County Council.
  23. Parry-Jones, Bryn (25 May 2014). "Election for the European Parliament electoral region of Wales". Pembrokeshire County Council.
  24. Kimber, Richard (22 October 2012). "Pontypridd". General Election result, May 1997. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012.
  25. Kimber, Richard (22 October 2012). "Newport East". General Election result, June 2001. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012.
  26. "Results for Pontypridd". the Electoral Commission.
  27. "Results for Cardiff South and Penarth". the Electoral Commission.
  28. "Communists to contest Cardiff South and Penarth by-election". Welsh Communist Party. 23 July 2012. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012.
  29. Keane, Kristofer. "Cardiff South and Penarth, 2012".
  30. "Election results for Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney". Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. 8 May 2015.
  31. Teale, Andrew. "Y Sblot". Local Elections 2008. Local Elections Archive Project. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mike Hicks
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain Succeeded by
Preceded by
New position
Leader of the WSRM Succeeded by
Position ended