Leanne Wood

Leanne Wood
Leanne Wood AM
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for South Wales Central
Assumed office
1 May 2003
Preceded by Pauline Jarman
Personal details
Born 13 December 1971 (1971-12-13) (age 39)
Rhondda, Wales
Political party Plaid Cymru

Leanne Wood AM (born 13 December 1971), is a Welsh politician, born in the Rhondda, Wales, who has represented the South Wales Central region for Plaid Cymru as a Member of the National Assembly for Wales since 2003. Wood is known as a republican and socialist.


Early Years

Leanne Wood was born in Llwynypia on 13 December 1971.[1][2] She grew up in the nearby Rhondda village of Penygraig, south Wales, where she attended Tonypandy Comprehensive School (now Tonypandy Community College).[3][4]

From 1997 to 2000, Wood worked with the Mid Glamorgan Probation Service as a probation officer. From 1998 to 2000 she was co-Chair of the National Association of Probation Officers.[2] Wood worked as a support worker for Cwm Cynon Women's Aid from 2001 to 2002, where she has been Chair since 2001.[2][5] Wood lectured in social work at Cardiff University from 2000, until her election to the National Assembly for Wales in 2003.[2][6]

Political career

Wood was a councillor on Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council from 1995 to 1999.[2] After leaving the probation service in 2000, she was Jill Evans MEP's political researcher until 2001.[2] Wood was Chair of Cardiff Stop the War Coalition from 2003 to 2004.[2]

Wood has been a Member of the National Assembly for Wales (AM) since the election of 1 May 2003, representing the South Wales Central region for Plaid Cymru.[1] She was the party's Shadow Social Justice Minister between 2003 and 2007.[1] Wood became Plaid Cymru's sustainability spokesperson from the formation of the One Wales government, a coalition between Labour and Plaid Cymru in July 2007, remaining in the role until the end of Assembly's term in 2011.[1] While in the role, Wood campaigned on 'green' issues, including calling for more land to be made available for growing food.[7]

During the 2011 referendum on extending the National Assembly for Wales' law-making powers, Wood was Plaid Cymru's representative on the all-party Yes for Wales steering group, which campaigned successfully for a 'Yes' vote.[8][9] She is Chair of the PCS Cross-Party Group in the Welsh Assembly.[5] According to the BBC, Wood's particular areas of interest are: poverty; women's issues; social services; criminal justice; social exclusion; mental health; anti-privatisation; and anti-war.[1] Her Plaid Cymru profile includes her commitment to working "for Wales to become a self-governing decentralist socialist republic." [10]


Between 2009 and 2011, Wood led the exposure of excesses at the Wales Audit Office, while under the control of Jeremy Colman, Auditor General for Wales.[11] Through the Freedom of Information Act, she uncovered a severance package of £750,000, personally authorised by Colman, to the former chief operating officer Anthony Snow.[12] Further scrutiny uncovered more self-authorised expenses, including training costs for Colman and Snow and the £464 cost of hiring a chauffeur-driven Mercedes for Snow to attend a meeting on how to save public money.[13][14] Colman resigned in February 2010 following an internal investigation, subsequently pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.[15][16]

Figures obtained by Wood under the Freedom of information Act revealed the level of pay among university vice-chancellors in Wales. Over 270 people were paid over £100,000 per annum by Welsh universities in 2009. It was noted that all Welsh university vice-chancellors received more pay than the £134,723 salary of Carwyn Jones, Wales' First Minister, and some were paid more than the £197,000 entitlement of David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister.[17]

Information obtained by Wood showed thousands of workers in Wales to have been paid below the Minimum Wage since 2002-03. The underpayments involved over 1000 employers in Wales. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills subsequently asked HM Revenue and Customs to "press for prosecution where there is clear evidence that the employer has committed an offence.", in 2010. No prosecutions had begun by June 2011.[18]

Policy development

Wood has produced two major policy documents. In 2008, she published Making Our Communities Safer. Drawing on her four years’ previous experience as Plaid Cymru’s Social Justice and Regeneration spokesperson and committee member, as well as her previous work as a Probation Officer, it argued for the criminal justice system in Wales to be devolved.[19]

A Greenprint for the Valleys was published in 2011, in which Wood argued for a job creation programme aimed at regenerating the former coalfield areas of the valleys. It contains initiatives including: a Green Construction Skills College; implementing an integrated transport plan for the valleys; creating a land bank for renewable energy and food production; and a programme to renovate heritage buildings. It also suggests providing financial support for home energy efficiency measures and for setting up of green co-operatives.[20]

Mrs Windsor incident

In December 2004 she was the first assembly member to be ordered out of the chamber for referring to the Queen as "Mrs Windsor" during a debate. Lord Elis-Thomas asked Ms Wood to withdraw the remark on the grounds of discourtesy. When she refused, she was ordered to leave.[21] She later said: "I don't think I was treated fairly, I don't think it was necessary.", "I don't recognise the Queen, I called her that because that's her name." [22]

Protest against Trident nuclear deterrent

Wood was arrested on 8 January 2007 for protesting against Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent at Faslane, Scotland.[23][24]

On 23 January 2006 Leanne was the first Welsh politician to start weekly podcasts from her website.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Your representatives; Leanne Wood". BBC News Democracy Live website. BBC. 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/representatives/profiles/33490.stm. Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Ms Leanne Wood, AM's biography", Debrett's website (Debrett's), 2011, http://www.debretts.com/people/biographies/browse/w/23617/Leanne+WOOD.aspx, retrieved 25 July 2011 
  3. ^ "'Who's who' guide to Assembly Members - May 2011" (PDF), The Welsh NHS Confederation election briefing (NHS Confederation): p. 19, May 2011, http://www.welshconfed.org/companyData/1898/resources/Election%20Briefing.pdf, retrieved 28 July 2011 
  4. ^ Rob Jones (11 January 2007). "People and places that helped shape the Tonypandy we know today". Rhondda Leader (Pontypridd: Media Wales Ltd). http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/south-wales-news/rhondda/2007/01/11/people-and-places-that-helped-shape-the-tonypandy-we-know-today-91466-18459885/. Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Leanne Wood AM (Plaid, South Wales Central)", Understanding ModernGov website (Understanding ModernGov), 2011, http://www.moderngov.com/speakers/leanne-wood-2011, retrieved 25 July 2011 
  6. ^ "AM's prison claim over ID cards". BBC News website (BBC). 12 December 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4519104.stm. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "A lot meant by an allotment". Western Mail (Cardiff: Media Wales Ltd). 7 September 2009. 
  8. ^ "Wales says yes in referendum vote". BBC News website (BBC). 4 March 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-12648649. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "LCO Process Is Holding Back Wales, Says Plaid AM", Plaid Cymru (Plaid Cymru), 20 December 2010, http://www.english.plaidcymru.org/news/2010/12/20/lco-process-is-holding-back-wales-says-plaid-am/, retrieved 29 July 2011 
  10. ^ "Leanne Wood AM", Plaid Cymru website (Plaid Cymru), 2011, http://www.english.plaidcymru.org/leanne-wood-am/, retrieved 6 August 2011 
  11. ^ Martin Shipton (6 May 2011). "Wales Audit Office spent £200,000 on external legal and HR help". Western Mail (Cardiff: Media Wales Ltd). http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/05/06/wales-audit-office-spent-200-000-on-external-legal-and-hr-help-91466-28643268/. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Martin Shipton (24 September 2010). "Audit official’s deal was struck the first day he qualified for early retirement". Western Mail (Cardiff: Media Wales Ltd). http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/09/24/audit-official-s-deal-was-struck-the-first-day-he-qualified-for-early-retirement-91466-27334015/#ixzz1TU4xgw7S. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  13. ^ Martin Shipton (12 February 2010). "Audit chief took chauffeur-driven car to meeting on saving money". Western Mail (Cardiff: Media Wales Ltd). http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/02/12/audit-chief-took-chauffeur-driven-car-to-meeting-on-saving-money-91466-28159015/#ixzz1TUIqsLUP. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  14. ^ Luke Salkeld (15 February 2011). "Spending watchdog boss takes £464 chauffeur-driven Mercedes to meeting... on how to SAVE money". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers Ltd). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1356815/Spending-watchdog-Anthony-Snow-takes-464-chauffeured-car-meeting.html#ixzz1TU8LGzVk. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  15. ^ Martin Shipton (4 February 2010). "Auditor General resigns as porn found on laptop". Western Mail (Cardiff: Media Wales Ltd). http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/02/04/auditor-general-resigns-as-porn-found-on-laptop-91466-25758794/. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  16. ^ "Ex-Wales auditor general admits child image offences". BBC News website (BBC). 1 November 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11664265. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Tom Bodden (31 August 2010). "Welsh university bosses are paid more than First Minister". Daily Post North Wales (North Wales: Trinity Mirror Ltd). http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2010/08/31/welsh-university-bosses-are-paid-more-than-first-minister-55578-27169523/. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  18. ^ Martin Shipton (27 June 2011). "Employers flouting the law on minimum wage". Western Mail (Cardiff: Media Wales Ltd). http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/06/27/employers-flouting-the-law-on-minimum-wage-91466-28945960/. Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  19. ^ Leanne Wood AM (2008) (PDF). Making Our Communities Safer. Plaid Cymru. ISBN 0-905077-80-6. http://www.english.plaidcymru.org/g_downloads/2011-06-13-32-1-safer-communities.pdf. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  20. ^ Leanne Wood AM (2011). A Greenprint for the Valleys. Plaid Cymru. ISBN 0-905077-85-7. http://issuu.com/plaid/docs/greenprint_publisher?mode=embed&viewMode=presentation&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  21. ^ "Leanne Wood expelled from chamber". BBC News Democracy Live website (BBC). 31 October 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/historic_moments/newsid_8199000/8199372.stm. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "AM expelled for 'Mrs Windsor' jibe". BBC News (BBC). 1 December 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/4060043.stm. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  23. ^ Tomos Livingstone (9 January 2007). "Plaid Cymru pair arrested at Trident base". Western Mail (Cardiff: Media Wales Ltd). http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/newspolitics/tm_headline=plaid-cymru-pair-arrested--at--trident-base&method=full&objectid=18424893&siteid=50082-name_page.html. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  24. ^ Auslan Cramb (9 January 2007). "Nine are held in Faslane demo". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/09/nfaslane09.xml. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 

External links

Offices held

National Assembly for Wales
Preceded by
Pauline Jarman
Assembly Member for South Wales Central

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