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Ieuan Wyn Jones, AM (born 22 May 1949) is leader of Plaid Cymru, Deputy First Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government and Member of the National Assembly for Wales for the Ynys Môn constituencymarker. He was Member of the UK parliament for Ynys Môn constituencymarker from 1987-2001. In 2007, Jones was named Wales' "Politician of the Year" by the BBC Wales programme.

Background and Style

Family, Education, and Employment

Ieuan Wyn Jones was born in Denbighmarker, Walesmarker, and is a Welsh speaker. Jones has lived in both north and south Wales. Jones's early education was at Pontardawe Grammar School and at Ysgol y Berwyn in Bala, Gwyneddmarker. Jones's brother Rhisiart said "The time we spent living in Garnswlltmarker (between Ammanfordmarker, in Carmarthenshiremarker, and Pontarddulaismarker, in Swanseamarker) was a very happy time for us as a family," adding "Many people think that Ieuan is just a 'gog' but parts of south Wales are very close to his heart."

In Englandmarker Jones studied law at Liverpool Polytechnicmarker where he met Dafydd Ellis Thomas; and later studied at the University of London. Rhisiart Jones said his brother loves to travel and after college Ieuan "organised a 'rite of passage' trip across Europe in his Hillman Imp."

He is married to Eirian Jones and has three children. Jones's hobbies include studying local history, walking, and sports. Jones, a minister's son, is an elder in his local chapel and occasionally preaches. Before entering public service in 1987, Jones was a practising solicitor. Jones became a Member of the Eisteddfod’s Gorsedd in 2001.

Personal Style

Ieuan Wyn Jones is known as a keen negotiator, and a "man of integrity, one who is reliable and 'a good listener'". Lord Ellis-Thomas, presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly, first met Jones 30 years ago at Liverpool Polytechnic and said of Jones "[he] was a very good organizer with "huge tenacity'". According to Lord Elis-Thomas, Jones assiduously "talks to each (Plaid Cymru assembly) group member individually and "will ensure the government achieves what it says it will."

Jones's approach is described as "somewhat quieter, more understated," as compared to Rhodri Morgan. Conservative leader Nick Bourne describes Jones as "somebody who's trustworthy, somebody who's reliable," and "a safe pair of hands... a good leader for his party".

Jones is generally seen as a pragmatist - steering a middle course between his party's (predominantly southern) socialists and the language-inspired activists of the party's Ynys Mônmarker and Gwyneddmarker heartland. Speaking about moderation at the British-Irish Council at Stormontmarker on 16 July, 2007, Jones said "We in Wales have also seen a coming together of parties with different traditions, on the basis of a shared programme for government, and a shared commitment to improve the lives of all our people in all parts of Wales.."

Public Service

Jones's main political interest is health and education policy. Jones has held a number of positions both in Plaid Cymru and as an U.K. Member of Parliamentmarker and Welsh Assembly Member. He was Plaid Cymru party chairman between 1980 - 1982 and 1990 - 1992.

UK Parliament MP, 1987-2001

Jones campaigned for public office for the first time and won in the 1987 UK general election for the Ynys Môn constituencymarker. He continued to represent Ynys Môn until 2001, when he stood down to concentrate on the Welsh Assembly. As a Member of Parliamentmarker he piloted a private members bill to assist the hard of hearing in 1989, and was a member of the Welsh Affairs and Agriculture Select Committees. He was the joint chair of All Party Older Persons Group, and appointed a trustee of the Industry and Parliament Trust, a body promoting better understanding between parliamentarians and industrialists. He won an award as Politician of the Year by the Federation of Small Businesses.

Jones has been a governor of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, a body that assists in the development of democratic institutions in many parts of the world.

First Welsh Assembly, 1999-2003

Jones was the campaign director during Plaid Cymru's first elections to the Welsh Assembly in 1999. The elections were seen as a breakthrough by the party, gaining seats in solid Labour areas such as in the Rhondda, Islwynmarker and Llanelli and achieving by far their highest share of the vote in any Wales-wide election winning 17 out of 60 seats in the Assembly. Plaid Cymru saw themselves as the natural beneficiary of devolution.

Elected Party President

In 1999, Jones became the Assembly's first Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee chairman, a post he continued in until February 2000. Jones stood down at the 2001 election in order to spend more time in the Assembly, when in the summer, he as elected President of Plaid Cymru with 77% of the vote over Helen Mary Jones.

Jones reshuffled the party leadership with Jocelyn Davies as Business Manager;Elin Jones as Chief Whip and Agriculture & Rural Development; Phil Williams as Economic Development; and Helen Mary Jones as Environment, Transport and Planning, plus Equal Opportunities. Of the reshuffle Jones' described his cabinet as "strong... capable of taking on Labour in the Assembly as well as making a vital contribution in promoting a positive policy agenda."

Language Controversy

Controversy erupted in mid-winter 2001 when Gwynedd councillor Seimon Glyn voiced concern over "English immigrants" moving into traditionally Welsh speaking communities. Though some "Plaid Cymru colleagues came to his aid, saying his comments had been taken out of context," Jones issued "strict instructions to Plaid Cymru party members that if they chose to speak on the same emotive issue in future, they should take care that their words were not misconstrued." Jones himself was famously humiliated by Labour MEP Glenys Kinnock on Question Time following his attempts to "defend the indefensible".

Plaid Cymru refocused the argument back to one of locals being priced out of the housing market, as nearly a third of all properties in Gwynedd are bought by out-of-county parties. Jones's centrist policies may have been helped further by the formation of Welsh language pressure group Cymuned and the Independent Wales Party by providing another home for radicals.

Llandudno Party Conference

At the Llandudnomarker Plaid Cymru party conference of 2002, Jones called for greater Assembly authority "[on-parity] with Scotland's parliament," and "opposed any military conflict in Iraq, saying it would destabilise the Middle East." Jones also criticized health and public services policies and would end the "endless revamping of structures and administration,."

"[Plaid Cymru] has been doing its homework", wrote BBC Wales political reporter Simon Morris, and is "determined to produce a credible programme of public service reform".

Second Welsh Assembly, 2003-2007

However, in the May Assembly election of 2003, Plaid Cymru lost five seats, and within a week there were accusations of a plot headed by Assembly Member Helen Mary Jones and four other Plaid Cymru Assembly Members manoeuvering for Jones's removal. But Helen Mary Jones denied involvement. However, Jones resigned as both party president and leader of the assembly group. Jones admits this was a particularly difficult period.

But within three months he stood again for the position of assembly leader, having received both grassroots support from "all over Wales" and senior party members. The party was undergoing a reorganization and dividing its Cardiff Baymarker and Westministermarker responsibilities, this party constitutional change prompted new party elections. Jones was re-elected as Assembly group leader, since May he was the party’s Business Manager in the Assembly. In addition, when leader of the opposition he was also a member of the Assembly’s European and External Affairs Committee and North Wales Regional Committee. Of early 2003 Jones said "it has been a remarkable journey for me personally and something that I have great pride in, in a sense, that I have been able to lead the party through a very difficult period.

In 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Wales, Bangormarker. That summer Jones hiked through Wales on a Wales Wide tour from Ynys Mon to Swanseamarker, where he attended the National Eisteddfod. Jones said his conversations with the people he met along the way helped create a manifesto better geared to the real needs of people.

In February 2006 Plaid Cymru undertook changes to its party structure, including designating the leader of the party in the Assembly as its overall leader, with Jones taking the post once more. Additionally, the unveiling of a radical change of image, opting to use "Plaid" as the party's name, although "Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales" would remain the official title. The party's colours were changed to yellow from the traditional green and red, while the party logo was changed from the 'triban' (three peaks) used since 1933 to a yellow Welsh poppy (Meconopsis cambrica).

Third Welsh Assembly, 2007-2011

Ieuan Wyn Jones led Plaid Cymru through the Welsh Assembly election of 3 May 2007. In the elections, Plaid Cymru increased its number of seats from 12 to 15, regaining Llanelli, gaining one additional list seat and winning the newly created constituency of Aberconwy The 2007 election also saw Plaid Cymru's Mohammad Asghar become the first ethnic minority candidate elected to the Welsh Assembly. The Party's share of the vote increased to 22.4%.

Forming a government

Jones's initial attempts to form a three-party coalition with the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties failed when the Liberal Democrat leadership backed-out of coalition talks. This "Rainbow Coalition" would have formed the first ever PC-led government. With the reappointment of Welsh Labour's Rhodri Morgan as First Minister, the Liberal Democrat general party membership demanded that their leadership restart negotiations with Plaid and the Conservative parties. However, by now Jones had entered into coalition talks with Labour in attempts to form a stable government with Plaid's AMs approving a deal with the Labour Party on 27 June 2007. Labour's special party conference on 6 July 2007 approved the coalition; Plaid Cymru's conference the next day sealed the arrangement.

During the coalition negotiations, Jones pressed for the full law-making powers for the Assembly, similar to the Scottish Parliamentmarker. A referendum on the issue is promised "as soon as practicable, at or before the end of the assembly term (in 2011)," with a Welsh Labour committed to campaign positively on the issue. Other points Jones fought for included a first-time buyer's credit, a reconfiguration of the Welsh National Health Care service, and "to achieve carbon-reduction equivalent emissions reductions of 3% per year by 2011 in areas of devolved competence." The result of the negotiations was the One Wales agreement.

Of Plaid Cymru's entering into government for the first time, Jones said "The party's role so far has been one of the opposition party which put pressure on the other parties to move things forward for the benefit of Wales," and "From today we will be sharing the responsibility of directly operating on behalf of the people of Wales. I am looking forward to the challenge.."

Deputy First Minister of Wales

Queen Elizabeth II confirmed Ieuan Wyn Jones as Deputy First Minister of Wales on 11 July 2007" Reflecting on Rhodri Morgan's recent hospitalization, Lord Elis-Thomas said "I think [Jones] will be a very stable influence around the cabinet table in the difficult situation both parties are in now with the first minister's illness." The next day Ieuan Wyn Jones, with the Queen, represented Wales in Belgiummarker at the 90th anniversary ceremony of the Third Battle of Ypresmarker at Passchendaele (World War I). During the battle celebrated Welsh poet Hedd Wyn had died, along with thousands of other Welshmen. Jones represented Wales at the British-Irish Council held in Stormont on 16 July, where he said holding the council in the Stormont Parliament for the first time was "a historic occasion" and "The restoration of devolution was achieved as a result of the coming together, in a spirit of service to all the people of Northern Ireland, of two very distinct political traditions,." Jones wished his "most sincere good wishes" to the new Northern Ireland administration.On 19 July 2007 it was announced that Jones would also be Minister for Economy and Transport.


He has published two books, 'Europe: the Challenge for Wales' in 1996 and in 1998 'Y Llinyn Arian', a biography of the Welsh nineteenth century publisher, Thomas Gee.


Offices held


  1. Jones takes top politician award, 5 December 2007. Extracted 12-08-07
  2. A 'remarkable journey' for Jones
  3. Ieuan Wyn Jones's website
  4. The Comeback Kid
  5. Jones and Brown meet at Stormont
  6. Home: Plaid Cymru - the Party of Wales
  7. Plaid leader reshuffles cabinet
  8. Plaid bids to defuse 'racism' row
  9. Plaid leader 'defends the indefensible' on BBC Question Time
  10. Apology over 'insults' to English
  11. Jones' uphill struggle for votes by Simon Morris extracted 07-19-07
  12. Plaid leader aiming to govern extracted 07-19-07
  13. Plaid, the president and the 'plot'
  14. Plaid president's comeback attempt
  15. First ethnic minority AM elected BBC News, 4 May 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  16. Plaid says deal back on the table
  17. Labour calls coalition conference
  18. BBC NEWS | Wales | Historic Labour-Plaid deal agreed
  19. Labour agrees historic coalition
  20. Labour-Plaid coalition is sealed
  21. "Jones confirmed as deputy leader" extracted 07-19-07, BBC Wales, 11 July 2007
  22. Rhodri Morgan has artery surgery extracted 07-19-07

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