Bishop of St. David’s apologises after ‘never trust a Tory’ devolution message
The Bishop of St. David’s has apologised after a message on social media in which she said followers should “never trust a Tory” over their attitude to devolution in Wales.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies was among those who criticised the message, which caused the Right Reverend Dr Joanna Penberthy to say she would close down her social media account.
She is the first woman to become a bishop in the Church in Wales after being consecrated in 2017.
On March 25 she tweeted that her followers should “Never never never trust a Tory,” a message noticed and widely shared yesterday and which drew condemnation from parishoners in an institution once characterised as ‘the Tory party at prayer’.
“On March 25th 2021 I put out a private tweet about Conservative Party supporters which has caused offence and for which I sincerely apologise,” Jenny Penberthy said in a statement on the Diocese of St David’s website.
“The tweet was in response to another tweet which claimed that the Conservative Party was planning to abolish the Senedd. I acknowledge that while there may be those within the Conservative Party who oppose Welsh devolution, it is not the policy of the Conservative Party to abolish the Senedd and I should have checked all the facts before tweeting.
“I, of course, trust and have trusted many Conservatives and know there are many honourable people in that party.”
Among those who criticised her tweet was Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies who said: “The many divisive and intolerant views pushed out from this very public account by the Bishop of St Davids will be troubling to many of her parishioners in West Wales.”
The Spectator’s anonymous gossip columnist Steerpike was also critical, saying that ” the poor people of South Wales are stuck with frothing political hackery in the place of spiritual enrichment”.