Plaid Cymru urged to sack “racist” veep

Dafydd Iwan faces expulsion from Plaid Cymru after he claimed last night that people were fleeing from England to Wales to get away from Pakistanis and Indians.

Mr Iwan, currently vice-president of Plaid Cymru, is running for the presidency of the Welsh nationalist party.

In a speech at the National Eisteddfod, a Welsh cultural festival, he said people were moving to Wales to “avoid all the Pakistanis and all these Indians who have moved to English towns.”

He added’ “They are coming to Wales to avoid immigration. The situation has got worse.”

Labour has called for Mr Iwan’s name to be removed from the list of candidates seeking the Plaid presidency.

A Labour spokesman said: “This is a pretty crass attempt to brand English people moving into rural Wales as racists, hiding behind the figleaf that this is what people say.

“Dafydd Iwan’s comments are alarmingly reminiscent of Nick Griffin’s ‘White Flight’ remarks a couple of years ago. Plaid Cymru condemned those remarks then they should do so now.

“The only honourable course of action would be for him to withdraw from the race for the presidency.”

Mr Iwan insists he is not a racist.

Chair of Plaid Cymru John Dixon later defended Mr Iwan and attacked Labour.

“We must be open about this. I refute any form of racism but we have got to accept people have a right to maintain their communities and live and work in them.

“It is completely absurd and outrageous to compare these comments with the repugnant agenda of the BNP and fascists.

“In making such foolish and groundless attacks, the Labour party is simply giving a platform to racists and their views. Plaid Cymru rejects racism absolutely.”

Defending the context of his speech later, Mr Iwan said: “We can’t blame people for wanting to live in such a beautiful area as rural Wales, but they must realise that we have a different culture and a different language in many areas.

“Recently I’ve heard of people who have said that they can’t live any more with people from Indian and Pakistani backgrounds in English cities, so they come to Wales to escape from them.

“We don’t want people with these racist attitudes in Wales.”