Although Leanne Wood is a party heavyweight, her seat has never been a safe one, and her win in 2016 was a shock loss for Labour. At the previous three Assembly elections Labour had won the seat with majorities of over 6,000.

It wasn’t close this time, around 18 per cent of the vote has swung from Plaid Cymru to the Labour Party. Ms Wood lost by 5,497. It’s a similar swing that Ms Wood herself achieved in 2016 when she took those 6,000 votes from Labour.

The result was announced just after it was also announced Plaid Cymru had failed to take Llanelli, one of their key target seats, and has solidified a very disappointing night for the party.

Wood’s status of party leader is thought to have helped her campaign in 2016. She also relied heavily on door knocking, claiming to have knocked on “every door in the Rhondda” to win the seat. Although she enjoys a major local profile, she faced a strong challenge from Labour in this election from another local - Elizabeth ‘Buffy’ Williams.

Turning to Ms Wood after her win, Ms Williams said: “Politics can be tough especially for women, every politician I know has gone into politics to make things better. It involves knocking doors in the rain, and not always getting much thanks. I wish you all the best for the future, and thank you for your 17 years of service in the Senedd.”

Wood’s absence from the Senedd is a big loss to Plaid Cymru. Adam Price was in Rhondda many times during the campaign to help her retain her seat and Wood would have been likely to take a cabinet position in any potential government Plaid may be involved in.

Just as she was confident enough to fight to retain leadership of her party in 2018 Wood was confident of her electoral strength in Rhondda. In 2017 she considered stepping down as Plaid leader to fight against Labour’s Chris Bryant for the seat in the UK general election. However, in this election, like in the leadership challenge, her confidence has turned out to be misplaced.

Mr Bryant said earlier today that “people wanted to give Plaid a chance last time, but frankly Leanne and Adam Price have blown it.”

Directing his message to the Plaid leader, he added “all those ranting speeches you made wagging your finger all the time at the voters, I don’t think you’ve got anything to crow about, and I’m very hopeful Mark Drakeford might be able to from a new government without having to do any kind of coalition with Plaid.”

Ms Wood has been in the Senedd since 2003, having represented the South Wales Central region from 2003 to 2016. She was leader of Plaid Cymru from 2012 to 2018, and gained a big UK-wide profile following her appearances in the 2015 UK general election debates.

READ MORE: Senedd election 2021 -  LIVE RESULTS

She was the first woman lead her party, and the first to be a Welsh-learner, rather than a first-language Welsh speaker.

In December 2004, Ms Wood became the first Assembly Member to be ordered out of the chamber, for referring to the Queen as “Mrs Windsor”. In 2013 she was arrested at a protest against Trident, Britain’s nuclear programme.

Her friend Adam Price announced he would be challenging her leadership of the party in 2018, and went on to beat her in a leadership contest. He has said Plaid had become “stuck” under Leanne Wood, however Plaid’s performance today does not indicate much progress in his first major test as leader. The party has made no gains so far, and now it has lost one seat.

Price, who overthrew Wood to move the party forward, has now led a campaign which has lost her seat.

Wood has continued to loyally support her party and the new leader since 2018. She was a powerful voice for them in the Senedd, and was most recently their Shadow Minister for Justice and Equalities.

Since 2016, in her constituency Wood has been involved with the campaign to save the Royal Glamorgan Hospital’s A&E, set up a food-share scheme in 2019 to redistribute unsold supermarket food. She’s also pushed for an independent enquiry into the repeated flooding of the Rhondda, and lobbied the Westminster government to pay for the clearance of coal tips in the valley.

Wood still lives in Pencraig, the Rhonda village she was born in. She has said her working-class upbringing shapes her politics.

Elizabeth ‘Buffy’ Williams was also born and raised in the Rhondda. This was a fight between two very strong local candidates with local issues very much in play, but it is a big loss for Plaid Cymru, and shows a failure in their strategy in this election to win over Labour voters.

In her victory speech Ms Williams said the Rhondda has “stood together in the face of adversity”, adding that she didn’t just want to talk about things, she “wants to get things done”.

Meanwhile, Leanne Wood took to social media to voice her feelings of disapointment, but also a pledge to continue Plaid's fight:

"Rhondda Plaid Cymru can hold our heads high...We all do this because we want a better Wales. We want a better Rhondda and we know that we can be better...

"This election changes none of that. We still know we can do better than this. And we know that if we keep doing the same thing, we will not get different results.

"So we will continue to put forward our political vision and we will continue to work in and build up our communities. Ymlaen!"