MP who assaulted wife should stand down ‘immediately’, says Plaid leader

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has called for an MP cautioned by police for assaulting his wife to “immediately” stand down.

Jonathan Edwards, the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, has said he will not re-join the Welsh nationalist party at Westminster just two days after he had the whip controversially restored.

He had been suspended since July 2020, but on Thursday the party said he was being readmitted to its Westminster group.

His estranged wife Emma Edwards said she was “appalled” by the move – saying that it sent out the message “that survivors of domestic abuse don’t matter”.

On Saturday Mr Edwards said he would not be re-joining his party’s group at Westminster in order to allow for a “period of calm reflection”.

Party leader Adam Price then called on him to step down as an MP and quit the party altogether, as he promised a review of the party’s disciplinary procedures to be carried out as a matter of “urgency”.

Price said in a statement posted on Twitter: “As stated, it is my firm belief that Jonathan Edwards cannot continue to represent Plaid Cymru in Westminster and should resign immediately.”

“I also call on Jonathan Edwards to leave the party,” the leader added. “His actions do not represent our values and his position as an MP sends the wrong message out to domestic abuse survivors in Wales and beyond.”

Police were called to their couple’s home in May 2020 over the assault, and Jonathan Edwards subsequently accepted a police caution.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Mr Edwards described the incident which led to his suspension as “isolated” and said that he had subsequently enrolled on a domestic violence awareness course.

He expressed concern there was no space in public life for those who had made mistakes to show “genuine remorse” and criticised his treatment by some in the party.

“Over the past two years there have been periods when I have felt suicidal as my personal and professional life crumbled and I was offered no safeguarding by the party,” he said.

“I am also concerned that in recent weeks senior politicians within the party have misused their positions of power by subjecting me to vindictive and vengeful coordinated political attacks.”

Welsh Liberal Democratic leader Jane Dodds said it was “not acceptable” that Edwards had the whip restored – saying Plaid had to show they “are serious about tackling violence against women”.