FORMER Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has backed Adam Price to continue in the party’s top job despite its disappointing Senedd election results. 

The party slipped behind the Welsh Conservatives, to third place, in this month’s election and Wood, who led the party from 2012 to 2018, lost her Rhondda seat to Welsh Labour. 

The loss of the seat Wood had taken from Labour in 2016 means Plaid no longer has any constituency seats outside of its Welsh speaking heartlands in west Wales. 

But Wood, who said she was unsure of what Plaid’s central message, other than independence, was at the election warned against a knee-jerk reaction to the disappointing set of results. 

“Well I think this fad of switching leaders when the latest election doesn’t deliver the most amazing results ever is not going to get you very far really over the long term,” she told BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement programme when asked if Price is the “right man for the job”. 

She added: “Adam is a good leader in many respects and I think he should continue he’s got a good new team around him now and I’m pretty sure that people will see a lot of talent coming from that group and he will need support in order to rebuild the party and to win constituencies because unless we win constituencies then that goal of independence is not going to be delivered.” 

Plaid had also been “disadvantaged” by the short campaign, which was restricted due to lockdown regulations, said Wood who argued though there was “good feeling” towards the Welsh Labour Government her party could have changed that perspective by focusing on PPE shortages, when the pandemic first struck, and a lack of financial support for people to self-isolate. 

She also said the government’s record on education and health could have been scrutinised more closely: “There is plenty to point at to show the Labour government hasn’t done well so there is much more we can do to highlight those issues and demonstrate we can do a much better job.” 

On independence Wood said the party needs to demonstrate why independence would change people’s lives and said she felt the party had failed to do that. 

She also described herself as only able to speak, about the recent election, as someone who had been a “local candidate” and said: “I’ve not been involved in party strategic decision making for some time”.

But she said she had confidence members of its national executive would offer sufficient challenge as the party reviews its performance. 

Plaid Cymru now holds 13 seats in the Senedd, which although is one more than its 2016 total due to seats on the regional list, the loss of the Rhondda constituency was seen as the party losing ground in the Valleys. 

The Conservatives gained an additional five seats, including two constituencies, at the election to establish themselves as the clear second party in the Senedd while the Labour Government has 30 seats.