Bethan Jenkins

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Bethan Jenkins
Bethan Jenkins 2011.jpg
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for South Wales West Region
Assumed office
3 May 2007
Preceded by Janet Davies
Personal details
Born (1981-12-09) 9 December 1981 (age 33)
Aberdare, Wales
Nationality Welsh
Political party Plaid Cymru
Alma mater Aberystwyth University

Bethan Jenkins AM (born 9 December 1981), is a Welsh politician, born in Aberdare, Wales, who has represented the South Wales West Region for Plaid Cymru as a Member of the National Assembly for Wales since 2007.

Early and personal life[edit]

The daughter of poet Mike Jenkins, a previous winner of the John Tripp Award and Welsh Book of The Year. Bethan Jenkins grew up in Merthyr Tydfil, where both her parents were involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement of the 1980s and early 1990s. Her brother is the Channel 4 News reporter Ciaran Jenkins.

She was educated at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen, near Pontypridd. She then studied International Politics and International History at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Through student politics, she was elected to the Aberystwyth Guild of Students executive, first as Women's Officer, then as Campaigns, Communications and Equal Opportunities Officer. In 2004, she was elected as Guild President.

Jenkins was in the National Youth Orchestra of Wales for three years, and the Welsh language folk/pop band Gilespi. Bethan also enjoys sport, and was a lifeguard for many years. She currently lives in Rhos.

Cymru X[edit]

Whilst working as President of the Aberystwyth Guild of Students, Jenkins saw Plaid Cymru suffer defeat in Ceredigion. After leaving Aberystwyth University, Jenkins worked in the office of Leanne Wood AM and used her contacts there to set up the organisation Cymru X. Cymru X launched the first ever interactive text referendum on a Parliament for Wales, as well as campaigns against nuclear arms. Glyn Wise from Big Brother fame also took part in a campaign alongside Cymru X to encourage young people to vote prior to the National Assembly election in 2007.

National Assembly of Wales[edit]

In March 2006, Jenkins was selected as Plaid Cymru's lead candidate for the South West Wales Regional list and was duly elected in the subsequent elections of May 2007. At the age of 25, she was the youngest Assembly Member elected in the third term of the National Assembly.[citation needed]

Jenkins was initially Plaid Cymru's Child Poverty and Culture Spokesperson for the Plaid Cymru group at the National Assembly, and sat on the Communities and Culture committee, Audit committee, and the newly formed Petitions Committee.

In 2012, Jenkins was appointed Plaid's spokesperson for Heritage, Welsh language and Sport.[1][2] She is chairperson for the Assembly's Cross Party Eating Disorder Group, and formed a new cross party group on human rights.

Jenkins has been an outspoken Republican. Alongside her Plaid Cymru colleague, Leanne Wood, is a member of the group Republic, along with Welsh Labour AM John Griffiths.[3]


Twitter row[edit]

In June 2012, Jenkins became embroiled in a row about her comments on social networking site Twitter, in light of the meeting between Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Queen Elizabeth II at a charity reception. After Welsh Labour members highlighted the comments, Jenkins said that she was appalled at being accused of "trying to destabilise" the peace process, and that she was giving up Twitter for the time being.[4]

Arrest for drink driving[edit]

Early in the hours of Sunday 14 October 2012, Jenkins was arrested by South Wales Police in Llandaff, Cardiff for drink driving. Jenkins was stopped by police for erratic driving. She was found to be barefoot and wearing a hoodie over her pyjamas. When tested, she was more than twice the legal limit. Released on police bail, she has not been charged. Jenkins issued a statement, stating that there were "no excuses" for what she had done, and that she had resigned her position as Plaid's spokeswoman on heritage, the Welsh language and sport. Her statement also stated that she had been receiving professional medical help for depression. On Monday 15 October, Jenkins was suspended from the Plaid group of AMs "while the process of justice takes its course".[5] On 12 November 2012, Bethan was charged with drunk driving, and is scheduled to appear in court on 19 December.[6] Bethan Jenkins has been banned from driving for 20 months after admitting being behind the wheel while over the alcohol limit.

External links[edit]

Office held[edit]

National Assembly for Wales
Preceded by
Janet Davies
Assembly Member for South Wales West
Preceded by
Laura Anne Jones
Baby of the House