Dafydd Wigley

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Wigley
PC
Dafydd Wigley.jpg
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for Caernarfon
In office
6 May 1999 – 1 May 2003
Preceded by New Assembly
Succeeded by Alun Ffred Jones
Member of Parliament
for Caernarfon
In office
28 February 1974 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Goronwy Roberts
Succeeded by Hywel Williams
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
19 January 2011
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born (1943-04-01) 1 April 1943 (age 74)
Derby, England, United Kingdom
Nationality British (Welsh)[1]
Political party Plaid Cymru
Spouse(s) Elinor Bennett
Alma mater Victoria University of Manchester

Dafydd Wynne Wigley, Baron Wigley, PC (born 1 April 1943), born David Wigley, is a Welsh politician.[1] He served as Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament for Caernarfon[2] from 1974 until 2001 and as an Assembly Member for Caernarfon from 1999 until 2003. He was the leader of Plaid Cymru from 1991 to 2000. On 19 November 2010 it was announced that he had been granted a peerage by the Queen,[3] and took his seat in the House of Lords as Baron Wigley, of Caernarfon on 24 January 2011.[4]

Early life[edit]

Wigley was born in Derby, England, the only child of Welsh parents Elfyn Edward Wigley and Myfanwy Batterbee. He attended Caernarfon grammar school and Rydal School before going on to the Victoria University of Manchester[5] and training as an accountant. He was employed by Hoover as a financial controller before entering parliament.

Political career[edit]

UK Parliament[edit]

After being defeated at Merioneth in 1970, in 1974 Wigley became one of Plaid Cymru's first three MPs to be elected at a General Election, and first became the party's president in 1981. Gwynfor Evans had led Plaid Cymru since 1945, but resigned after the devastating defeat of the Yes Campaign in the devolution referendum of 1979. It was naturally assumed that either Wigley or Dafydd Elis Thomas would succeed him as president.

The election for president was seen as instrumental in deciding the future direction of the Plaid Cymru. Wigley represented a moderate, pragmatic social-democracy, in sharp contrast with rival candidate Dafydd Elis Thomas's left-wing socialism. Wigley's triumph in 1981 was largely a pyrrhic victory - he won the presidency, but Elis Thomas would have a greater influence over the party's ideology throughout the 1980s. In 1984 Wigley resigned from the presidency because of his children's health, but returned to the job in 1991 after the resignation of Dafydd Elis Thomas.

National Assembly for Wales[edit]

In 1999 Wigley became a member of the National Assembly for Wales, and led the Plaid Cymru opposition to Labour, before his resignation from the leadership, officially on medical advice but amid rumours of an internal plot against him in 2000.[citation needed] In 2006 he sought and secured nomination to Plaid Cymru's North Wales party list as the secondary candidate for the National Assembly for Wales election, 2007 but, because in part of constituency seat gains, Plaid Cymru failed to gain a second regional seat.

Personal life[edit]

He married the international harpist Elinor Bennett. The couple had four children, son Hywel Wigley and daughter Eluned Wigley and two sons who died of a genetic illness. His sons' condition influenced the direction of his career, and he took a strong interest in the affairs of disabled people, being vice-chairman of the Parliamentary all-party disablement group, vice-president of Disability Wales, vice-president of Mencap (Wales), former president of the Spastics' Society of Wales and sponsor of the Disabled Persons Act in 1981. In 2003 Wigley became Pro-Chancellor of the University of Wales.

Awards[edit]

In 2008, Wigley was awarded an Honorary Chair in Business at Bangor University.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sleeman, Elizabeth, ed. (2003). The International Who's Who 2004: 2004 By Elizabeth Sleeman, Taylor & Francis Group, Europa Publications, Europa Publications Limited. London: Europa Publications. p. 1806. ISBN 1-85743-217-7. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  2. ^ "Plaid peer Dafydd Wigley to champion disability rights". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Peerage for former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley". bbc.co.uk. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Rhys, Steffan. "Wigley plans to take up his seat in the Lords". walesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Wigley accepts Plaid peerage call". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Honouring Dafydd Wigley's contribution with Business Chair". Bangor University. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Goronwy Roberts
Member of Parliament for Caernarfon
Feb. 19742001
Succeeded by
Hywel Williams
National Assembly for Wales
Preceded by
(new post)
Assembly Member for Caernarfon
19992003
Succeeded by
Alun Ffred Jones
Political offices
Preceded by
Gwynfor Evans
President of Plaid Cymru
1981–1984
Succeeded by
Dafydd Elis Thomas
Preceded by
Dafydd Elis Thomas
President of Plaid Cymru
1991–2000
Succeeded by
Ieuan Wyn Jones
Preceded by
(new post)
Leader of Plaid Cymru in the National Assembly
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Ieuan Wyn Jones
Preceded by
(new post)
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Ieuan Wyn Jones
Preceded by
Gwynfor Evans
Honorary President of Plaid Cymru
2005–
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Academic offices
Preceded by
Gareth Williams
Pro-Chancellor of the University of Wales
2003–2006
Succeeded by
Barry Morgan