Liz Saville Roberts

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Liz Saville Roberts
Official portrait, 2020
Leader of Plaid Cymru in the House of Commons
Assumed office
14 June 2017
Preceded byHywel Williams
Member of Parliament
for Dwyfor Meirionnydd
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byElfyn Llwyd
Majority4,740 (15.8%)
Plaid Cymru Spokesperson for Home Affairs, Justice, Business and Equality
Assumed office
14 June 2017
Preceded byVarious
Plaid Cymru Spokesperson for Environment, Education, Health, Climate Change and Local Government
In office
8 May 2015 – 3 May 2017
Preceded byVarious
Succeeded byVarious
Gwynedd County Councillor
In office
4 May 2004 – 7 May 2015
Succeeded bySian Wyn Hughes
ConstituencyMorfa Nefyn
Personal details
Elizabeth Saville

(1964-12-16) 16 December 1964 (age 59)
Eltham, London, England
Political partyPlaid Cymru
Dewi Wyn Roberts
(m. 1994)
Residence(s)Morfa Nefyn, Wales
Alma materAberystwyth University Edit this at Wikidata

Elizabeth Saville Roberts PC (née Saville; born 16 December 1964)[1] is a Welsh politician, serving as the group leader of Plaid Cymru in the House of Commons since 2017. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Dwyfor Meirionnydd since the 2015 general election.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Elizabeth Saville Roberts grew up in Eltham, London, before moving to Aberystwyth to study languages at Aberystwyth University. She worked in Welsh-medium further education.[3]

Political career[edit]

In 2004, she became a member of Gwynedd Council for Morfa Nefyn.[4] In 2008, she became the authority's cabinet member for education.[5]

At the 2015 United Kingdom general election, Saville Roberts became Plaid Cymru's first ever female MP when she was elected as the MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd.[6] She was elected with 40.9% of the vote and a majority of 5,261.[7][8][9][10] She stood down as a councillor following the result,[11] becoming Plaid's spokesperson for Home Affairs, Education, Health, Environment, Energy, Equalities and Local Government.[12] In her maiden speech to Parliament, she emphasised her and Plaid Cymru's commitment to public education, and highlighted issues facing rural Wales.[13]

In 2016, Saville Roberts introduced a bill to the House of Commons which tackled online bullying and cyber crime.[14][15] She is the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Digital Crime.[16]

In February 2017, Saville Roberts argued in favour of introducing a US-style rape shield law to prevent cross-examination of rape victims' sexual history in courtrooms, and tabled a private members bill on the matter. The government launched an emergency review in response.[17][18]

At the snap 2017 general election, Saville Roberts was re-elected as MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd with an increased vote share of 45.1% and a decreased majority of 4,850.[19][20][21] Following the election, she became the leader of Plaid's Westminster group and party spokesperson for Home Affairs, Justice, Business, Energy, Industrial Strategy, Women and Equalities.[22]

Later that year, she hinted about standing for the Welsh Assembly in 2021.[6] In November 2017, she led calls for a system of electronic tagging to be implemented for domestic abusers and stalkers which would allow their victims to be alerted if they were near by.[23][24]

In April 2018, Saville Roberts opposed UK involvement in the 2018 bombing of Damascus and Homs, which she described as a "tokenistic action" that would do "little to allay the human suffering on the ground in Syria nor to bring stability to the region." She also criticised Prime Minister Theresa May for not having given Parliament a vote on the air strikes before proceeding.[25][26] In October 2018 she spoke in Irish in the House of Commons as she called on Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley to implement an Irish Language Act. She is believed to be the first person to speak Irish in the House of Commons since February 1901.[27]

On 7 March 2019, Saville Roberts was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.[28] She is a member of the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill.[29]

On 14 March 2019, Saville Roberts voted for an amendment tabled by members of The Independent Group for a second public vote on EU membership.[30]

At the 2019 general election, Saville Roberts was again re-elected with an increased vote share of 48.3% and a decreased vote share of 4,740.[31][32][33][34]

On 17 March 2021, Saville Roberts again spoke in Irish, this time to wish Irish people a happy St Patrick's Day. She also gave the message in Welsh, for which the Speaker Lindsay Hoyle told her off and stated that speaking Welsh was against parliamentary rules. Saville Roberts claimed afterwards that the incident displayed "Westminster's disdain for minority languages".[35] Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg later referenced the incident and called Welsh "a foreign language". In response, Saville Roberts tweeted: "Jacob Rees-Mogg may not be aware, but Welsh is not a 'foreign language'. It had been spoken in Britain for hundreds of years before English even existed."[36]

She has called for an independent Wales to rejoin the European Union. "Single market membership provides an immediate and clear solution to the problems wrought by recent Conservative failures," wrote Saville Roberts. "In the longer-term, we are building the case for an independent Wales at the top table of the European family."[37]

Personal life[edit]

Saville Roberts has lived in the village of Morfa Nefyn in Gwynedd with her husband, Dewi Wyn Roberts, since 1993. They married in 1994 and have twin daughters.[1][38] Her mother, Dr Nancy Saville, was a scientist who was diagnosed with dementia in 2021[39][40] Saville Roberts has written openly about it, and the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on people with the condition.[41]

She is a cousin of the contemporary British artist Jenny Saville.[42]


  1. ^ a b "Saville Roberts, Elizabeth, (born 16 Dec. 1964), MP (Plaid Cymru) Dwyfor Meirionnydd, since 2015". Who's Who. 2015. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.283990.
  2. ^ "Dwyfor Meirionnydd". BBC News. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  3. ^ Jamieson, Sophie (29 April 2015). "Female MPs: Parliament's future front bench stars". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Liz Saville-Roberts". Plaid Cymru. Archived from the original on 31 March 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Liz Saville Roberts is Gwynedd Council's schools leader". Daily Post. 4 June 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Plaid Cymru MP may seek assembly seat". BBC News. 17 December 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Gwynedd Council results". Parliamentary Election results - 7 May 2015. Gwynedd Council. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Statement of Persons Nominated" (PDF). Gwynedd Council. 9 April 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Dwyfor Meirionnydd Parliamentary constituency". Election 2015 Results. BBC. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Morfa Nefyn By-election: 9 July 2015". Gwynedd Council. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Liz Saville Roberts MP". UK Parliament.
  13. ^ Cornock, David (23 June 2015). "New MP's rural economy warning". BBC News. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  14. ^ Laville, Sandra (4 March 2016). "Online abuse: 'existing laws too fragmented and don't serve victims'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Bill targets online abuse and crime". BBC News. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  16. ^ Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons – Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups as at 21 July 2016: Digital Crime". Retrieved 26 June 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "MP hopes review will help rape victims". BBC News. 12 February 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  18. ^ Travis, Alan (8 February 2017). "MP proposes UK rape shield law to protect victims in court". the Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  19. ^ "General Election 2017: The Dwyfor Meirionnydd candidates". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Dwyfor Meirionnydd Parliamentary constituency". Election 2017 Results. BBC. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Dwyfor Meirionnydd parliamentary constituency – Election 2017". BBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Plaid Cymru announces Westminster spokespeople". Plaid Cymru. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  23. ^ Buchan, Lizzy (20 April 2018). "Convicted stalkers and domestic abusers should be forced to wear GPS trackers, campaigners say". The Independent. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  24. ^ Evans, Martin (23 April 2018). "Calls for stalkers and domestic abusers to be fitted with electronic tags to alert victims". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Long-term plan call after Syria strikes". BBC News. 14 April 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  26. ^ Williamson, David (17 April 2018). "What is the evidence Assad used chemical weapons – and what did we bomb?". WalesOnline. Media Wales. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  27. ^ "British MP uses Irish language". 24 October 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Privy Council appointment: 7 March 2019". GOV.UK.
  29. ^ "New appointments this week in UK politics, the civil service and public affairs". PoliticsHome. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  30. ^ Mosalski, Ruth (14 March 2019). "Brexit latest: The Welsh MPs who voted for a second referendum". Wales Online.
  31. ^ "Statement of Persons Nominated" (PDF). Cyngor Gwynedd Council. 14 November 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  32. ^ "Dwyfor Meirionnydd parliamentary constituency - Election 2019". BBC News. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  33. ^ "Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville-Roberts holds Dwyfor Meirionnydd". Denbighshire Free Press. 13 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  34. ^ Mosalski, Ruth (13 December 2019). "General Election 2019 result for Dwyfor Meirionnydd". WalesOnline. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  35. ^ Shaw, Amelia (17 March 2021). "MP told off for wishing Commons a 'Happy St Patrick's Day' in Welsh and Irish". North Wales Live. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  36. ^ Hudspith, Jaymelouise; Stephens, Lydia (19 March 2021). "MP hits back at Jacob Rees-Mogg for calling Welsh a 'foreign language'". North Wales Live. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  37. ^ Saville Roberts, Liz (7 February 2023). "Wales' message to Europe: 'We'll be back'". EUobserver.
  38. ^ Bodden, Tom (16 December 2013). "Liz Saville Roberts chosen as Plaid Cymru's candidate for Dwyfor Meirionnydd". North Wales Live. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  39. ^ Barker, Miriam (11 January 2022). "Covid: MP calls for law change for dementia patients". BBC News.
  40. ^ "Click here to view the tribute page for Dr Nancy Margery SAVILLE". Funeral Notices (in Welsh). 29 January 2022.
  41. ^ Saville Roberts, Liz (9 January 2022). "Pandemic policy deprives my mother of both family love and her human rights". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  42. ^ Stylist Team (11 January 2016). "The women-only exhibit you must see". Stylist.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Dwyfor Meirionnydd