Leanne Wood

Welsh Plaid Cymru politician (born 1971)

Leanne Wood (born 13 December 1971) is a Welsh politician who served as the leader of Plaid Cymru from March 2012 to September 2018, and has served as Member of the National Assembly (AM) for Rhondda since 2016.

Leanne Wood in 2016




  • We may be a small party and a small country but we can stand tall if we stand together and if we stand up for our principles. Real independence means collectively lifting our people out of poverty leaving no-one behind, building a future based on hope not on fear.
  • I believe in equality. I think steps should be taken to reduce the imbalance we have in society, so I favour the redistribution of wealth for example. But what I do say is that the bar is quite low. What's considered to be radical politics today was seen as mainstream 20 years ago. Plaid Cymru is a left party and I would argue that the views that I hold reflect the views of the members of Plaid Cymru.


  • Within Plaid Cymru, we have a strong internal democracy which reflects how much we rely on the party membership as a grassroots body. The side effect of this is that measures to promote women are not always at their strongest, but must be balanced out with local party control. Over the years we have also seen that this is true outside of Plaid Cymru as well, as tensions between local party democracy and central party machines have been apparent in other parties.


  • Do not forget what is at stake at this election. Do not forget all that will be put at risk if dangerous right-wing isolationist Europhobia is victorious. Our businesses rely on £5bn worth of trade with our EU partners every year. Our country has benefited from investment in our infrastructure and communities, with more on the horizon. More than one in 10 jobs are directly dependent on our membership of the EU - that's 150,000 reasons to vote Plaid Cymru in this May's election.


  • First minister, last night you participated in the first major public debate on the future for Wales within the European Union. You went head-to-head with the voice of the far right. Do you think your performance helped or hindered the Welsh campaign on the EU?
  • It is not possible in 2016 to simply pull up the drawbridge and retreat to an idyllic isolation. And even if it were, surely that isn't the kind of country we want Wales to be. [I want a] decentralised, partnership of equals as the basis for the new Europe.
  • Leaving the EU would risk our hard-won gains including rights at the workplace, access for businesses to the single market and would diminish our contribution to global challenges such as climate change and conflict resolution.
  • I've been quite surprised by how so many people have been able to be persuaded around this question of fear of immigration. We've got a week now to try to persuade as many people as possible that it is in Wales' best interests to Remain as a part of the European Union.
  • Brexit provides an opportunity for the nations to take more power and responsibility from the UK. The referendum result shows how Westminster rule has left many communities behind. It should in no way be interpreted as a vote to centralise more power in London. No self-respecting country should be timid or ashamed of governing itself. It's disheartening to see such a negative attitude from some in Welsh politics.
  • We know that with the uncertainties arising from the decision to leave the EU, the Welsh Government now needs to look at alternative ways of improving the economies of areas in Wales that have been left behind by successive UK and Welsh Governments. We propose that this work is started in the areas that are set to lose out the most from the changes to the structural funds that will occur as a result of the decision leave the EU.
  • I fear we've ended up in this situation because of irresponsible politicians trying to use rhetoric against immigration in order to make political points, for example for Brexit. But we've opened a can of worms now and we are potentially in quite a dangerous situation.
  • Questions of immigration and the single market were not on the ballot paper at the EU referendum. I've been speaking to a number of key players in the Welsh economy and they're all telling me that tariffs and being outside the EU's regulatory regime would be damaging to them.
  • [The High Court ruling] should not be seen as an opportunity to overturn the result. It gives an opportunity for the 48% of voters who backed Remain to have an input and pursue a soft Brexit.


  • The most important outcome for Wales from any negotiations is to be in the single market. By upping the ante on migration, Mr Corbyn and the Labour party risk giving Theresa May the political cover needed for a hard Brexit. If the speech makes rejecting the principle of freedom of movement a priority, then it will help the Tories make a case for leaving the single market, which would be disastrous for the Welsh economy. Labour, despite being the UK opposition, cannot be trusted to know what is best for the Welsh economy.
  • While Wales may have voted to leave, no one voted to give the Tories a blank cheque to wreck the Welsh economy by dragging us out of the single market and jeopardising 200,000 jobs,
  • There can be no greater priority for our party right now than upholding the Welsh national interest during the months ahead as the UK government begins the process of leaving the European Union.
  • Plaid Cymru believes that decisions about Wales are best made in Wales and the way in which this hard Brexit is being pursued highlights exactly why. If the UK Government's Brexit negotiation also leads to the Welsh national interest being overlooked, support will grow for greater control of our own affairs in Wales.
  • What we know about the Tories is that they want to reduce the amount of money that government spends. So my fear is that Brexit will be used as an opportunity by them to reduce the amount of investment we get in Wales.
  • If, in the worst possible scenario, we leave the European Union without a deal, people must have the opportunity to reject that disastrous outcome, either through a public vote, or through parliamentary democracy.


  • I am seeing more misogyny now than I have ever seen in my political life. This seems to be a phenomena of today. It seems to come out online, on social media, but it seems to be reflecting something else that is going on in society.
  • A lack of confidence is a barrier. I've lost count of the times I have felt uncomfortable when Welsh speakers turn to English because of me. But more than anything, I feel angry. Angry that I have lost something so valuable - something I deserve to have and something my grandfather had.
  • Nuclear power has been a difficult issue for Plaid Cymru. We are opposed to nuclear power but have been forced to weigh concerns against the need to attract well-paid jobs to our rural areas. These concerns have created a compromise position of not opposing the replacement of existing nuclear plants. This has pitched people with concerns about the language and environment against each other.
  • We still have a socialist leading Plaid Cymru, we still have independence as one of our priority areas. The question of social justice and inequality are still going to remain important aspects of Plaid Cymru's core message. I think the election of Adam Price means that people want to continue with a large element of what I put forward.


  • I don't think that we should just embark upon these questions lightly because people will rightly ask what is the point of voting again in any future referendum or indeed election. So, there is a real concern about democracy but also there's a concern about democracy if we do crash out of the European Union and it's not just a concern for democracy, it's also a concern for the economy, for the future for young people, for a whole raft of economic issues.

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