- Gwynfor Evans
Dr Richard Gwynfor Evans (
1 September 1912– 21 April 2005), was a Welsh politician, lawyer and author. President of Plaid Cymrufor thirty six years, he was the first Member of Parliamentto represent Plaid Cymru at Westminster (1966-1970; 1974-1979).
Gwynfor Evans was born in Barry, near
Cardiff. He was educated at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and St John's College, Oxford, from where he qualified as a lawyer. He was also a market gardener. He was a teenager when the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymruwas founded in 1925, and he founded a branch of the party while he was at Oxford. He became the party's president in 1945 and retained the office until 1981.
A pacifist, he became active in Heddwchwyr Cymru, a Welsh organisation closely associated with the
Peace Pledge Union, serving as secretary and editor of a series of pamphlets throughout the Second World War. A committed Christianalso, he declared himself a conscientious objector, and was required to appear before a tribunal which, recognising the firmness of his beliefs, registered him unconditionally.
Evans is credited with keeping Plaid Cymru going through the lean years of the 1940s and 1950s — in the 1950s he campaigned unsuccessfully for a Welsh parliament, and failed to prevent the damming of the Tryweryn river and consequent inundation of the Welsh-speaking community of
Capel Celynin order to supply the city of Liverpoolwith water — a "cause célèbre" in Wales in the early 1960s.
Local Government and first parliamentary contests
Evans was elected to
CarmarthenshireCounty Council in 1949, keeping his seat for the next 25 years, usually as the lone Plaid Cymru representative, acquiring the nickname "Evans dual carriageway" for his emphasis on improving transport links. He contested Merioneth at the general elections of 1945, 1950, 1955 and 1959, and the Aberdare by-election, 1954. Carmarthen by-election, 1966
14 July 1966, Evans won the parliamentary seat of Carmarthen from Labour in a by-election caused by the death of Lady Megan Lloyd George, daughter of the former Liberal Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, having come third in the general election just a few weeks before. He had also contested the seat at the 1964 general election. His by-election victory is regarded as a seminal moment for Plaid Cymru. He was shown around the House of Commons by fellow pacifist Emrys Hughes, the son-in-law of Keir Hardie; on pointing out the Welsh Labour table in the Commons' tea room, Hughes warned him, "You’d better not sit down there, your name’s mud among that lot." [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-1579591,00.html]
Later electoral record
In the 1970 General Election Evans lost his Carmarthen seat to Labour's
Gwynoro Jones, and failed to regain it in the February 1974 General Election by only three votes. He regained the seat - with a majority of 3,640 votes - in the October 1974 General Election, when he returned to Parliament accompanied by two other Plaid Cymru MPs, Dafydd Wigleyand Dafydd Elis Thomas.
Career as an MP
In the House of Commons, Evans was true to his pacifist principles in being one of the few MPs to oppose the British government's support of the
Nigerian federal government with supplies of weapons in the civil waragainst Biafra(1967–1970). He also opposed the Vietnam War: after being denied entry to the country as part of an inspection group, he instead protested outside a US air base in Thailand.
In 1980, his threat to go on
hunger strike, after the Conservative government reneged on its election promise of a Welsh languagetelevision channel, was instrumental in bringing about an early U-turn on the part of Margaret Thatcher, and S4Cbegan broadcasting on 1 November 1982.
In his political retirement he became a prolific writer, mainly on Welsh subjects and writing in Welsh with simultaneous or later English editions. His work "Aros Mae" ( _en. It Endures) (published 1971), a comprehensive history of Wales, and the English language version "Land of my Fathers: 2000 Years of Welsh History" (published 1974), had already become best-sellers.
In 1941 Gwynfor Evans married Rhiannon Prys Thomas (who survived him by nine months [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/4610138.stm] dying on
January 13, 2006) and they had seven children.
On his death the Welsh political establishment united in paying its respects to Gwynfor Evans:
*"Without Gwynfor Evans at the helm Plaid Cymru may not have survived to see electoral success in later years. His influence was felt beyond the confines of party politics. Wales would not be the nation it is today — perhaps would not be counted as a nation at all — if not for Gwynfor Evans." —
Dafydd Iwan, President of Plaid Cymru.
*"Although his relationships with Labour MPs were not always positive, there is no gainsaying his massive contribution to Welsh public life, and particularly in raising the profile of Wales and Welsh issues throughout his long career in Welsh and British politics." —
Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government(Labour).
*"Gwynfor Evans made a distinguished contribution to Welsh public life and will be remembered particularly for his advancement of the Welsh language." —
Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Wales(Labour).
*"Wales has lost one of its most significant figures of modern times. Gwynfor Evans was a highly respected figure who made a major contribution to Welsh politics. His record on delivering Welsh language broadcasting for Wales is of particular importance." —
Nick Bourne, Leader of the Welsh Conservative Party.
*"Gwynfor served his party well and was able to bring them into electoral success. He earned respect from across the political spectrum. His passing marks the end of a chapter in Welsh political history"." – Mike German, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
*There is a campaign to raise money to build a permanent monument to Gwynfor Evans in Carmarthen.
*"Aros Mae" (1971) (English version: "Land of my Fathers: 2000 Years of Welsh History" (1974) ISBN 0-903701-03-0)
*"Byw neu farw? : y frwydr dros yr iaith a'r Sianel deledu gymraeg / Life or death? : the struggle for the language and a Welsh TV channel " (1980 ISBN 0-905077-12-1, bilingual text)
*"Diwedd Prydeindod" (1981, ISBN 0-86243-018-6)
Autobiography: "Bywyd Cymro" (1982) (English version: "For the Sake of Wales" (1986) ISBN 1-86057-021-6)
*"The Fight for Welsh Freedom" (2000, ISBN 0-86243-515-3)
*"Cymru o Hud" (2001, ISBN 0-86243-545-5) (English version: "Eternal Wales" (2001) ISBN 0-86243-608-7)
Garth Celyn, Abergwyngregyn, Pen y Bryn
Carmarthen by-election, 1966
Royal Commission on the Constitution (United Kingdom)
* [http://www.gwynfor.net/ Gwynfor Evans Website - run by his family]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/2002565.stm BBC News Obituary]
21 April 2005
* [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/gwynfor-evans-495883.html "The Independent" obituary]
22 April 2005
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,1465990,00.html "The Guardian" obituary]
22 April 2005
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-1579591,00.html "The Times" obituary]
22 April 2005
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/04/22/db2201.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/04/22/ixportal.html "Daily Telegraph" obituary]
22 April 2005
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Gwynfor Evans — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Evans. Gwynfor Evans (1er septembre 1912, Barry, près de Cardiff (Pays de Galles) 21 avril 2005) est un homme politique gallois, premier membre du parlement représentant le Plaid Cymru à… … Wikipédia en Français
Gwynfor Evans — Richard Gwynfor Evans (* 1. September 1912 in Barry bei Cardiff; † 21. April 2005) war ein walisischer Politiker und der erste Abgeordneter der Plaid Cymru im House of Commons (von 1966 bis 1970 und von 1974 bis 1979). Evans studierte Jura an der … Deutsch Wikipedia
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