Neil McEvoy says he will not rejoin Plaid Cymru

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Neil McEvoy has been an AM for South Wales West since 2016

The independent assembly member Neil McEvoy says he will not attempt to rejoin Plaid Cymru after one of his supporters failed to become chairman of the party.

Attacking the party that expelled him, Mr McEvoy claimed Plaid’s AMs had held “the national movement back”.

Dewi Evans, who wanted Mr McEvoy reinstated, failed to oust Alun Ffred Jones at Plaid’s autumn conference.

Plaid Cymru said only it could deliver “transformational” change”.

Mr McEvoy was expelled from Plaid Cymru last year after he was found guilty of misconduct over his allegedly disruptive behaviour at the 2017 Plaid Cymru spring conference.

He was expelled for 18 months, later cut to 12. The politician had been thrown out of the Plaid Cymru assembly group over a separate matter.

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The AM, who is also a Cardiff councillor, had tried to rejoin the party earlier in 2019 but called it off in July, claiming a lack of “natural justice”.

A disciplinary panel had been examining his application at the time. He did not rule out joining the party again and it thought he might do so if Mr Evans was successful.

On Monday Mr McEvoy tweeted: “I’m continuing as an independent and will not be seeking to rejoin Plaid Cymru.”

He said he will stand against Labour first minister Mark Drakeford at the next assembly election in 2021.

‘Free’

He told BBC Wales: “Since I was elected in 2016 I’ve felt like the Plaid Cymru AMs have stifled the national movement and held it back. But I owed it to Plaid members to stick in as long as I could to try to change the party.

“I’m now free to represent people as I see fit and I’m very positive about the future. Plaid Cymru’s monopoly of nationalist politics ended on Saturday and there are exciting times ahead.”

A Plaid Cymru spokesman said: “As highlighted in our highly successful conference, only Plaid Cymru candidates can deliver transformational change and we look forward to making the case in the constituency of the First Minister.”

Mr McEvoy tweeted that while Alun Ffred Jones got 400 votes Mr Evans got 135.

A Plaid Cymru source would not confirm the figures but said the margin of victory was “substantial”.

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