WARM tributes were paid to South Wales East AM Steffan Lewis, who died last week aged 34, by AMs of all political colours yesterday.

Mr Lewis, who joined Plaid Cymru aged 11 and was first elected in May 2016, died on Friday, 13 months after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Tributes were paid to the father-of-one in the Assembly yesterday.

Plaid leader Adam Price opened the the tributes, calling Mr Lewis "the nation's perfect son".

"Steffan sadly will not see the Wales of which he dreamed," he said. "But for his son Celyn and his generation, he has laid the foundation, and it’s we now who must build the road."


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He added: "You made us all proud Steffan. Proud of you, proud to have known you, to have called you friend and colleague.

"You made us proud to be Welsh by your example that will endure.

"You may not get there with us Steffan, But we will get there because of you."

Steffan Lewis, pictured in 2015. Picture: Plaid Cymru

First minister Mark Drakeford also adding his tributes, saying: "He was without a shadow of a doubt one of the most decent and able politicians of his generation."

He added: "He was, as you all know, a thoughtful sensitive and committed individual, but he was a funny person, someone who's company you wanted to be in."

Others to speak included leader of the Assembly's Conservative group Paul Davies, who said: "Every Parliament should have Steffan. We're just very sad we've lost ours."

And ex-Plaid leader Leanne Wood, who Mr Lewis worked for as a researcher and speechwriter before he was elected to the Assembly, remembered her former colleague as "loyal and incredibly honest."

Steffan Lewis, pictured at Plaid Cymru's 1997 conference

She added: "I've got some amazing memories of my work and friendship with Steffan which I will now be able to keep forever."

Many AMs recalled Mr Lewis' refusal to use the computer at his seat in the Senedd debating chamber, demanding it was deactivated when he was elected so he could pay debates his full attention. Unfortunately, this meant he was unable to signal when he wanted to speak in a debate, meaning he had to catch the presiding officers' eye or ask Arfon AM Sian Gwenllian, who sat next to him, to pass on a message - much to her annoyance.

Labour Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells added her tributes, saying: "I am confident that when the history of this fifth Assembly is written, Steffan's role will be a shining light."

Newly-elected Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East Steffan Lewis Newly-elected Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East Steffan Lewis

Steffan Lewis, speaking when he was first elected as AM for South Wales East in 2016

She added: "Virtually every conversation I had with him would always come back to his family.

"He was very much a family man and a proud father".

Islwyn's Rhianon Passmore called Mr Lewis "a kind and sensitive human being with a razor sharp intellect".

The Labour AM added: "I will personally always remember him as a principled and honest politician and a decent human being."


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And Plaid Cymru's Dai Lloyd said: "Steffan was a total inspiration to me personally, to this party of ours, to this Senedd and to Wales.

"A shining star, as many have said, with a huge talent and courage, especially in these last months, as well as resilience of spirit, a reliance we all need now."

Plaid's Rhun ap Iorwerth remembered Mr Lewis as "a man of integrity, sincerity, fairness, determination and total selflessness". "He brought people together. And in that he is an example to all of us," he said. He added: "We will do everything to keep your flame alight."

Closing tributes, presiding officer Elin Jones said: "Although his life was brief, Steffan packed a great deal into it. He reminded us we don't really measure the value of a life by its length."