Police now investigating suspended Welsh councillor who posed with ‘what looks like a rifle’ in ‘xenophobic’ post
Police are investigating a suspended Welsh councillor over a social media post which appeared to show him holding a gun while commenting that he was making sure “there wasn’t any English people trying to cross the channel”.
Jon Scriven, a Plaid Cymru representative on Caerphilly Council, later deleted the post and has now apologised.
He has been suspended from the party while an investigation is carried out, Plaid has confirmed.
South Wales Police said it was “aware of a post on social media featuring a man brandishing what looks like a rifle at Ogmore-by-Sea”.
Superintendent Michelle Conquer said: “An allegation of malicious communications has been reported to us and we are investigating the matter.”
The post, which was uploaded by the Penyrheol councillor on August 8, said: “Ogmore-by-Sea tonight for a quick swim and make sure there wasn’t any English people trying to cross the channel.”
It has been accused of being “xenophobic” towards English people.
Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies tweeted on Monday that he was “speechless”.
“This sort of xenophobic attitude is beneath us,” he said.
He called on Plaid leader Adam Price not to “let another scandal rage on without decisive action”.
It is possible Mr Davies was referring to the saga involving MP Jonathan Edwards who was suspended then readmitted into the Westminster party after receiving a police caution for assaulting his wife.
‘Right to apologise’
Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Jane Dodds MP said in a statement: “There is a clear implication of violence and xenophobia in this post.
“Whether or not it was intended as a joke or not, it is entirely inappropriate for an elected official to make such comments, when they should know better.
“With so much hate in politics the last few years we should be trying to build bridges, not stoke division further.”
Caerphilly Senedd member Labour’s Hefin David tweeted: “Our society is facing huge challenges.
“We should be seeking to unite and address real concerns such as the cost-of-living crisis.
“Wrapping yourself in a flag and hating outsiders won’t help a single person in need.”
A day after the post was circulated on social media, Mr Scriven wrote on Facebook: “I would like to apologise for any offence caused by my now deleted Facebook post.
“It was ill-judged and I have apologised to the group leader Lindsay Whittle who has accepted my apology.”
A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said: “Councillor Scriven’s now deleted post was inappropriate and goes against Plaid Cymru’s views and values.
“He was right to apologise for any offence caused.
“All Plaid Cymru elected representatives have a duty to uphold the highest standards. Councillor Scriven has been suspended pending an investigation.”
Caerphilly County Borough Council has been contacted for comment.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.