Dafydd Elis-Thomas

Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Baron Elis-Thomas PC (born 18 October 1946) is a Welsh politician, representing the Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency in the Senedd. Born in Carmarthen, Wales, he was raised in Ceredigion and the Conwy Valley. He represented Merioneth, then Meirionnydd Nant Conwy constituencies as a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1992 and was the Llywydd of the Senedd from its inception in 1999 to 2011. He is a member of the House of Lords, a former leader of Plaid Cymru, and, since 2004, a privy counsellor. On 14 October 2016 he left the party in order to support the Welsh Government and now sits as an independent in the Senedd. In November 2017, he joined the Welsh Government. He is the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.

The Lord Elis-Thomas

Official portrait of Lord Elis-Thomas crop 2.jpg
Elis-Thomas in 2019
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism
Assumed office
3 November 2017
First MinisterCarwyn Jones
Mark Drakeford
Preceded byKen Skates
1st Llywydd of the Senedd
In office
12 May 1999 – 11 May 2011
MonarchElizabeth II
First MinisterAlun Michael
Rhodri Morgan
Carwyn Jones
Dirprwy (Deputy)Jane Davidson
John Marek
Rosemary Butler
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byRosemary Butler
Member of the Senedd
for Dwyfor Meirionnydd
Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (1999–2007)
Assumed office
6 May 1999
Preceded byOffice Created
Majority8,868 (40.1%)
UK Parliamentary Representation
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
18 September 1992
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy
(Merioneth, 1974-1983)
In office
28 February 1974 – 16 March 1992
Preceded byWilliam Edwards
Succeeded byElfyn Llwyd
Personal details
Dafydd Elis Thomas

(1946-10-18) 18 October 1946 (age 74)
Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Plaid Cymru (1970–2016)
Spouse(s)Elen Williams
Mair Parry Jones (present)


Thomas was born on 18 October 1946 at Priory Hospital, Carmarthen, and brought up in the Llandysul area of Ceredigion, and in Llanrwst in the Conwy Valley.[1][2] In 1970, he married Elen Williams and had three sons. They later divorced. From the mid-1980s until 1992 his partner was Marjorie Thompson, the chairwoman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). In 1993, he married Mair Parry-Jones. He lives in Llandaff, Cardiff (when working at the Senedd) and Betws-y-Coed (in the Aberconwy constituency, but prior to boundary changes in his constituency).[citation needed]

Professional careerEdit

He was the chairman of the Welsh Language Board between 1994 and 1999, and is a former member of the Arts Council of Wales and the British Film Institute where he was Chairman of Screen between 1992 and 1999. He was also a director and vice-chairman of Cynefin Environmental Ltd. between 1992 and 1999. A former university lecturer, he has also been the president of Bangor University since 2000, as well as currently being a member of the governing body of the Church in Wales.

Political careerEdit

UK ParliamentEdit

Having come third at Conwy in 1970, Thomas served as Member of Parliament for the Merioneth constituency between 1974 and 1983, initially as the "Baby of the House", and the Meirionnydd Nant Conwy constituency from 1983 to 1992.[1][2]

He was made a life peer in 1992, and changed his surname from Thomas to Elis-Thomas by deed poll, enabling him to take the title Baron Elis-Thomas, of Nant Conwy in the County of Gwynedd.[3] He sat as a crossbench peer because at that time he had taken on the non-political role of chair of the Welsh Language Board;[4] in 2012 he took the Plaid Cymru whip in the Lords.

Senedd CymruEdit

Elis-Thomas was elected to the newly established National Assembly for Wales (now called Senedd Cymru) in 1999, representing the Meirionnydd Nant Conwy constituency until the 2007 election, and then the Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency.[1] He also held the position of Presiding Officer from the Assembly's inception in 1999 until 2011.[1] During his tenure as Presiding Officer, he expelled Assembly member Leanne Wood from the Assembly chamber during a December 2004 debate after Wood referred to Queen Elizabeth II as "Mrs Windsor" during a debate and refused to withdraw the remark, the first time an AM was ordered out of the chamber on those grounds.[5]

From 2011, Elis-Thomas was Plaid Cymru's spokesperson for Environment, Energy and Planning before transferring to Rural Affairs, Fisheries and Food in 2012.[1] In October 2016 he left Plaid Cymru, but remained in the Assembly as an Independent member.[6] In November 2017, as part of a Welsh Government reshuffle, Elis-Thomas was appointed as Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport.[7]

Elis-Thomas is also Honorary President of the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight Cymru.[2]

He announced on Dewi Llwyd's BBC Radio Cymru programme on 12 April 2020 that he will not be standing in the next Senedd Election in 2021. After long consideration he said that he will not be standing in Dwyfor Meirionnydd in 2021, but said that there are many other ways to serve society. [8]

Offices heldEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Edwards
Member of Parliament for Meirionnydd
Constituency renamed
New constituency Member of Parliament for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy
Succeeded by
Elfyn Llwyd
Preceded by
Bernadette Devlin
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Helene Hayman
Senedd Cymru
New constituency Member of the Senedd for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of the Senedd for Dwyfor Meirionnydd
Preceded by
Position Created
Llywydd of the Senedd Cymru
Succeeded by
Rosemary Butler
Preceded by
Position Created
Assembly Commission
Succeeded by
Rosemary Butler
Party political offices
Preceded by
Phil Williams
Vice-President of Plaid Cymru
Succeeded by
Phil Williams
Preceded by
Dafydd Wigley
President of Plaid Cymru
Succeeded by
Dafydd Wigley
Academic offices
Preceded by
Cledwyn Hughes
President of Bangor University
Succeeded by
George Meyrick
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare
Baron Elis-Thomas
Followed by
The Lord Haskel


  1. ^ a b c d e "Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM". BBC Democracy Live website. BBC. 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM". Plaid Cymru website. Plaid Cymru. 2013. Archived from the original on 10 January 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  3. ^ "No. 53056". The London Gazette. 23 September 1992. p. 15921.
  4. ^ Bodden, Tom (8 February 2012). "Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas hits out at Plaid leadership rival's 'back room deal'". northwales.
  5. ^ "Leanne Wood expelled from chamber". BBC News Democracy Live website. BBC. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Plaid Cymru AM Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas quits party". BBC News. 14 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Ex-Plaid leader Lord Elis-Thomas gets Labour Welsh Government job". bbc.co.uk. 3 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Lord Elis-Thomas vows not to stand in 2021 election". BBC News. 12 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.

External linksEdit