Gay politician Adam Price elected leader of Welsh party Plaid Cymru
Out Welsh Assembly Member Adam Price has been elected as leader of Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru.
Price, an openly gay politician, succeeded in defeating the party’s incumbent leader Leanne Wood in a leadership challenge.
The new leader served as an MP from 2001 to 2010 and has sat in the Welsh Assembly since 2016.
Both Wood and Price are firm supporters of LGBT+ equality.
Price received 2,863 votes, well ahead of Rhun ap Iorwerth with 1,613 and Wood with 1,286.
The vote makes him the first out politician to take leadership of a major political party in Wales, though in 1998, Labour’s candidate to become the first First Secretary for Wales, Ron Davies, was outed by newspapers.
Price’s leadership indicates a rapid transformation for the country, given there were no out politicians on the Welsh Assembly until 2016.
He said: “It is a huge honour to be elected leader of Plaid Cymru. Firstly, my thanks to Leanne Wood for her hard work since 2012 and to her and Rhun ap Iorwerth for such a good campaign. Secondly to those who supported me, and all our party’s members for taking part in the election.
“Thanks, then, to the party’s staff for administering the election so well and arranging all its events. The work of all of us starts today. By rolling up our sleeves together, we will now win a new Wales.”
Plaid Cymru holds 10 of the 60 seats on the Welsh Assembly and four of the 40 Welsh seats in the House of Commons, making it the country’s third largest party.
No UK-wide party has been led by an out politician.
However, Scotland has had a number of out LGBT+ party leaders—current Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie, Scottish UKIP leader David Coburn and former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.
“I had known since primary school that I was different, that I was gay. It was hard for me to share it with anyone, it was hard for me to accept it myself. I was worried how my parents and their friends would react to this news,” he said.
“In one sense you can say that the culture of a coal mining area is very macho. My father was a former amateur boxing champion, you cannot get more macho than that.
“I was struggling to find a bridge between being gay and living in a coal mining valley. Being gay looked like something strange, something from London, something from far away.
“It was during the strike that I met gay people for the first time ever. The London Gays and Lesbians Support the Miners came down from London – a bus full of them – to Pantyffynnon rugby club.
“My Dad and Mam and many miners all sat down with the gays and lesbians and welcomed them. For me is was all pretty amazing.”
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