GUESTS at a curry evening who were accused of plotting the fall of former Plaid Cymru president Ieuan Wyn Jones might be expected to eat their words after his return as group leader in the Welsh Assembly.
But the four so-called conspirators yesterday denied any "curry plot" to force a change of leadership and welcomed Mr Jones's election victory as the will of the party.
Mr Jones announced his resignation as president on May 8 after being told that half the 12 Plaid AMs could no longer back him in the wake of a poor performance at Assembly elections, in which the party lost five seats.
It was Assembly group chairman Dr Dai Lloyd who informed Mr Jones that he had lost the confidence of colleagues after a series of meetings to discuss the election disaster. One of these meetings between concerned AMs occurred at the Cardiff home of Helen Mary Jones, who had invited colleagues Dr Lloyd, Janet Ryder and Janet Davies.
In the kitchen, they discussed over curry meals from a takeaway the state of their party and its leadership. The conversation became known as the "curry conspiracy".
Dr Lloyd approached Mr Jones and told him that he was losing support as president, which prompted his resignation.
Mr Jones then accused Ms Jones of organising a plot against him and rumours of a conspiracy were fuelled when she later emerged as his rival for the leadership of the Assembly group.
After the first ballot of party faithful, Ms Jones found herself on top with 2,089 votes - 11 ahead of Mr Jones.
But he clinched the leadership at the second ballot on Monday with a slightly wider majority of 71 votes.
Yesterday, Dr Lloyd dismissed all talk of a "curry conspiracy" and called on the party to unite behind newly elected group leader Mr Jones and president Dafydd Iwan.
"The decision has been taken by the party membership - at the end of the day the members have voted," said Dr Lloyd. "A proper parliament is bigger than any one individual. This gives us the initiative to be united and fight on.
"After the Assembly election there were several meetings. There never was a 'curry plot'. That was purely spin and ridiculous things have been said.
"The fact is that we were hungry one night and we went over for a curry. I'm a doctor by trade and if I was involved in any plot, it would be a damn sight cleverer than that."
Dr Lloyd said he approached Mr Jones to stress the party's concern about his leadership.
"All I did as chairman was tell Ieuan the truth," he said.
"I wanted a strategy to cope with any malingering discontent. I was not expecting him to stand down at all. I had a role as chairman to keep the Assembly group together.
"He kept saying he had the 100% backing of the Assembly group when I knew that was not the case. This was the gentleman who has said he was a fighter and not a quitter - and I didn't expect him to stand down.
"There was a feeling against Helen Mary Jones and the 'curry conspiracy' must have come from that. But she was as surprised as anyone else in the group that I had even seen Ieuan and spoken to him. There was no plot."
Ms Jones added yesterday, "The reason we met at my house was that I have a small child and it's not always easy for me to go out. There was never any more to it than that."
Of her narrow defeat in the leadership poll, she added, "It's the party's democratic decision and it is absolutely fine, and we will all work together."