At Plaid Cymru’s final campaign event of the 2021 Senedd election yesterday, leader Adam Price seemed confident.

“I look forward to the day, tomorrow,” he said, “when we will form the government of Wales.”

The day did not live up to these expectations, however. Results indicate a fairly comfortable victory for Welsh Labour, and far from forming a government of their own, it looks unlikely Plaid will even be needed to form a coalition.

Reacting to the day’s disappointments, Mr Price said he was “impatient for change”, but he remained optimistic.

“I’m always disappointed, certainly, to lose dear friends and colleagues from the Senedd,” he said.

“That is a setback and upsetting.

“I’m still encouraged by the positive response that Plaid has had, and I genuinely feel we have sowed the seeds of change in this election.”

So, where were those losses?

The party came nowhere near taking top target Blaenau Gwent from Labour, winning just 17% of the vote. In contrast, Labour retained the seat in 2016 by just 650 votes.

To the north, Aberconwy, another key target for Plaid, has remained in Conservative hands for the third election in a row, with Tory MS Janet Finch-Saunders increasing her majority by 7%.

Plaid was trounced in the South Wales East constituency of Caerphilly, with former regional MS Delyth Jewell, considered something of a rising star in the party, losing out to Labour incumbent Hefin David by nearly 20%.

Read more: Lib Dems lose Brecon and Radnor

The party’s attempts to retake Llanelli also failed today, with controversial candidate Helen Mary Jones receiving 27% of the vote to Labour’s 46%.

Ms Jones has repeatedly come under fire for making comments widely considered to be transphobic, including at a 2018 meeting of A Women’s Place UK (WPUK), regarded by many in the LGBTQ community as an anti-trans hate group.

A Plaid North Wales regional candidate, Owen Hurcum, stood down in March over the issue.

Owen, who is openly non-binary, said at the time: “I cannot in good conscience stand as a candidate for Plaid whilst they continue to platform a candidate who has promoted, and continues to promote, transphobia.”

In a tweet following news of Plaid’s loss in Llanelli, Owen said: “Plaid turned its back on its trans and non-binary members in order to keep HMJ on the ballot in the hope of gaining Llanelli.

“Their choice to support her despite her TERF ideology forced many, myself included, away from the party... Glad to see such electioneering worked well...”

In perhaps one of the day’s most devastating blows for the party, former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood lost her Rhondda seat to Labour newcomer Elizabeth “Buffy” Williams.

Ms Wood called the result “disappointing”, but said she was proud that her team had ran a “clean and honest” campaign.

She added: “We all do this because we want a better Wales. We want a better Rhondda, and we know that we can be better.

“We can eradicate poverty. We can be equal as a people. We can create the conditions whereby everyone and every community can reach its full potential.

“And we can do so much more for ourselves.

“This election changes none of that. We still know we can do better than this.

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

Earlier today Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda and a vocal opponent of Wood, told ITV News Wales: “I think people kind of wanted to give Plaid a chance last time, and frankly, Leanne and Adam Price have blown it.

“What I’d say to Adam - All those ranting speeches you made, wagging your finger at the voters? I don’t think you’ve got anything to crow about.

“I’m very hopeful that Mark Drakeford might be able to form a new government without having to do any kind of coalition with Plaid.”

In a marked change of tone, Bryant added this evening: “I want to pay tribute to Leanne Wood, because Leanne has been an Assembly Member, a Senedd Member, either in the Rhondda or for the Rhondda, for 18 years.

The National Wales: Former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood lost her Rhonda seat. Picture: Huw Evans AgencyFormer Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood lost her Rhonda seat. Picture: Huw Evans Agency

“That’s a phenomenal act of dedication and courage, and commitment to the community in which she was born and brought up.

“So I want to say thank you to you, Leanne.

“You’ve shown absolute courage and determination on so many different things. I want to thank you.”

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