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Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party
Welsh: Plaid Diddymu Cynulliad Cymru
LeaderRichard Suchorzewski
FoundedJuly 2015; 6 years ago (2015-07)
HeadquartersPen-Y-Lan
Tregoyd
LD3 0SS[1]
IdeologyWelsh Parliament abolition
Anti-devolution
Colours  Dark red
  Red
Local government in Wales
0 / 1,253
[2]
Website
abolishthewelshassemblyparty.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata

The Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party (Welsh: Plaid Diddymu Cynulliad Cymru), or in Wales, simply Abolish, is a registered single issue political party in Wales. It campaigns for the abolition of the Senedd (Welsh Parliament; Welsh: Senedd Cymru), formerly known as the "National Assembly for Wales", the devolved legislature of Wales. Abolish advocates that devolved powers be returned to the Secretary of State for Wales within the UK Central Government and the Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster.

Abolish was first registered with the Electoral Commission in July 2015. It was de-registered in November 2020 because former leader David Bevan failed to renew its registration, but was then re-registered two months later. The party has not had a candidate elected to the Senedd, but it gained two members in 2019 and 2020 through defections from the UK Independence Party (UKIP),[3] along with one council member in Powys. It lost both of its Senedd seats in the 2021 Senedd election.[4]

History

The Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party was formally registered with the Electoral Commission in July 2015[5] and was publicly launched in November 2015. Its sole stated aim is the abolition of the Senedd, formerly known as the National Assembly for Wales. The party nominated candidates for each of the regional lists in the 2016 Assembly elections, winning 4.4% of the regional vote and returned no seats.[6] It did not contest any constituency seats.

Former UKIP leadership candidate Richard Suchorzewski stood in the 2019 Newport West by-election, the first time the party had nominated a candidate for a Westminster seat. Suchorzewski stated that his main aim was to raise awareness of the party's message.[7] He campaigned on the single issue of the Welsh Assembly, claiming it was "a waste of money" and "an unnecessary tier of politics". He finished in 8th place out of 11 candidates, with 0.9% of the vote. Suchorzewski had previously stood for the Conservative Party and then for UKIP, standing for leadership of UKIP in 2006 and losing to Nigel Farage.[7]

Defections to Abolish

The deputy chair of the Welsh Conservatives, Lee Canning, defected to the party in November 2019, claiming that his former party were not doing enough to maintain the unity of the UK.[8] The party said it hoped Canning would stand "in a key target seat" in the 2021 Senedd election. In May 2020, Powys councillor Claire Mills quit the Welsh Conservatives and joined the party for similar reasons, becoming the party's first representative in Welsh local government.[9]

Richard Suchorzewski became the new leader of the party in June 2020. Later in the same month Gareth Bennett, the former leader of the UKIP Senedd group and Independent MS, joined the party along with former Brexit Party parliamentary candidates Cameron Edwards and Richard Taylor.[10][11][12]

In October 2020, a second member of the Senedd, Mark Reckless, joined the party. Reckless, who was previously the leader of the Brexit Party in Wales (and prior to that a member of UKIP, and before that a Conservative MP), stated, "we surveyed all the [Brexit] party’s registered supporters to ask what they wanted for the future. Two thirds of them wanted Abolish and an end to devolution. So, I am joining the Abolish The Assembly Party to help give those opposed to devolution a proper voice in Welsh politics".[13]

De-registration and re-registration

In November 2020, the Electoral Commission removed the party from the register of political parties. The party's former leader, David Bevan, had fallen out with the party and did not renew the party's registration.[14] Instead, he submitted a rival Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party for registration with himself as the leader, claiming this party would be fielding candidates in the next Senedd election.[15] A spokesman for the original party was quoted opposing the registration, warning Bevan against "stealing the party like a thief in the night."[15] This was resolved when the Electoral Commission, in January 2021, rejected the registration of the second party saying, "We have rejected the second application on the basis that when a party is deregistered, its name is protected for a period of time by law. This means that during this time only the previously registered party can apply to use that name."[16]

In January 2021, Abolish was reinstated on the Electoral Register[16] by the Electoral Commission. Suchorzewski said he "[looked] forward to naming candidates to stand for Abolish in the Welsh Assembly/Senedd elections due on 6th May – or later if it's postponed due to the other parties running scared and delaying the election as far into the future as possible. We believe there are safe election solutions, however whenever the election is called we shall be ready."[16]

2021 Senedd election campaign

On 7 March 2021, Abolish announced that it would be running candidates in all constituencies for the 2021 Senedd election. It also said that it would run candidates on the regional list.[17]

On 6 April, one month before election day, it was announced that 10 of the party's candidates had dropped out of the election. This included one of its two MSs, Gareth Bennett, who left to stand as an independent; the reasons for this decision were unspecified.[18]

At the election, Abolish received 18,149 constituency votes and 41,399 regional votes (3.7% of the vote), a drop from its performance in 2016, and failed to win any seats.[4][19]

2022 local elections

On 6 April 2022, Abolish lost its only councillor, Claire Mills, who announced that she would be running as an independent at the 2022 local elections being held on 5 May 2022.[20]

Policies

The party published its manifesto for the 2021 Senedd election in April 2021. The key points were:[21][22]

Electoral performance

Senedd elections

Election # of Constituency votes % of Constituency vote # of List votes % of List vote # of overall seats won +/- Position Outcome Notes
2016 Did not contest Did not contest 44,286 4.4 (#6)
0 / 60
0 N/A Not in Assembly
2021 18,149 1.63 41,399 3.7 (#6)
0 / 60
Steady N/A Not in Senedd

See also

References

  1. ^ "We are committed to getting rid of the Welsh Assembly". Abolish The Welsh Assembly.
  2. ^ "Your Councillors by Party". Powys.gov. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. ^ Masters, Adrian (19 October 2020). "Mark Reckless confirms he's switched to anti-devolution 'Abolish' party". ITV News.
  4. ^ a b "Welsh Parliament election 2021". BBC News. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Registration:Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Wales Election 2016: Constituencies & Regions". BBC News. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b Craig, Ian (22 February 2019). "Party dedicated to abolishing the Welsh Assembly will run in Newport West by-election". South Wales Argus.
  8. ^ Masters, Adrian (19 November 2019). "Top Tory Lee Canning quits to join anti-Assembly party". ITV News.
  9. ^ Masters, Adrian (13 May 2020). "Conservative councillor defects to anti-devolution party". ITV News. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  10. ^ Masters, Adrian (24 June 2020). "First Senedd Member for party which wants to abolish the Welsh Parliament". ITV News. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  11. ^ "A Member of the Senedd has joined the Abolish the Assembly party". Wales Online. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  12. ^ "Ex-UKIP Senedd leader Gareth Bennett joins anti-devolution party". BBC. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  13. ^ Craig, Ian (19 October 2020). "Mark Reckless joins the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Abolish Welsh Assembly party 'to be struck off electoral register'". 3 November 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  15. ^ a b "Abolish Welsh Assembly ex-leader accused of bid to 'steal' the party". 23 November 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  16. ^ a b c "Ex-Abolish the Assembly leader fails to keep party name". BBC News. 6 January 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  17. ^ Powell, Leah (5 March 2021). "Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party – prospective candidates". Barry & District News. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  18. ^ Mosalski, Ruth (6 April 2021). "Gareth Bennett leaves Abolish the Welsh Assembly to stand as an Independent". WalesOnline. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  19. ^ Masters, Adrian (8 May 2021). "Disappointment as parties fail to challenge Labour's dominance in Wales". ITV News. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Only Abolish the Assembly councillor now standing as an independent". Nation.Cymru. 6 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Welsh election: Abolish party plans to 'turn devolution tide'". 16 April 2021 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  22. ^ Mosalski, Ruth (16 April 2021). "Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party publishes election manifesto". WalesOnline.
  23. ^ "NHS prescription charges". nhs.uk. 9 November 2020.