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Labour council says two candidates need to ‘come clean’ about their political allegiances

27 Mar 2022 4 minutes Read
Brigitte Rowlands, Gordon Walker and Matthew Bailey

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

The Labour Party in Swansea has queried the political allegiance of two candidates in the forthcoming council elections, and claimed the Conservatives appeared to be “in disarray”.

Labour cited a leaflet about Gordon Walker, who is standing for re-election as in Independent in Clydach, in which he encourages electors to vote for a “dream team” comprising him, Brigitte Rowlands and Matthew Bailey.

The leaflet did not say anything about the other two’s political allegiances. Mrs Rowlands is currently a Conservative councillor representing the adjacent Mawr ward, which is merging with Clydach and two other constituencies.

Mr Bailey is a Clydach community councillor who has very recently switched from the Tories to Independent.

Swansea Labour leader Rob Stewart said Mrs Rowlands and Mr Bailey needed to “come clean” about their affiliation after having appeared on Conservative election materials. He alleged they had either “jumped ship because of the devastating Tory cost of living crisis and party gate scandal” or were trying to “hoodwink” voters.

Labour candidates for the Clydach seat, Wez Morgan, Sue Powell and Dylan Williams, said “the local Tories appear to be in disarray” and claimed people “know these (two) candidates are committed right-wing Tories”.

Inaccurate assumption

Mrs Rowlands, who is standing as a Conservative candidate for Clydach, said Labour had made a “very inaccurate” assumption which was misleading to the public.

She said Mr Walker had contacted her about her election plans and said he would really like to work with her if they both got elected.

“I said, ‘Great yes,’ and he said he would tell his supporters – and that’s basically it,” said Mrs Rowlands.

She said she hadn’t taken any notice of the fact that Mr Walker’s leaflet didn’t mention she was a Conservative.

“I am not that politically-minded – it really does not matter to me,” she said. “I don’t see the harm in it. My big thing is to represent the people I’m meant to represent. That’s how I have always been.”

Mr Bailey posted a message on Facebook on March 19 to say he would be standing as an Independent candidate for Clydach. On March 24 he published a longer post about his decision. He said he had been a Conservative party member for two years and had sent out leaflets last November stating this.

Mr Bailey said the forthcoming rise in National Insurance rates and the get-togethers in Westminster during the Covid pandemic were “hard pills to swallow” and had prompted him to have a change of heart.

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‘Promises of hot air’

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service said that he was disappointed but not surprised by Labour’s comments, and that he felt being a prospective Independent councillor would remove politics from the role and help ensure he put the people of Clydach first.

Mr Bailey also claimed the Labour candidates had “miraculously appeared” a couple of months before the May 5 election with “promises of hot air”.

Earlier this month, council leader Mr Stewart urged councillors and candidates to abide by the Welsh Local Government Association’s fair pledge campaign. Abuse and threats should not be tolerated, he said, and campaigning should be positive based on merit rather than personal attacks and smears.

Mrs Rowlands said she felt the comments by Mr Stewart about the leaflet had “torn up” the fair campaign pledge.

Clydach will have three councillors for the next five years instead of the current two following a review of ward boundaries in Swansea by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted Mr Walker about the leaflet but did not receive a response at the time of going to press.


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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Political allegiances. Is she refering to Labour’s loyalty to Wales or their blind obedience & deference shown towards their political masters in England. If so, she should know that question already. It’s certainly not the former.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

It speaks volumes that some councillors have to dump the word ‘Conservative’ to stand any chance of being elected. When I see ‘Independent’ on a candidate list, I do try to find out if they were connected to any party previously. Even in the build up to an election, the old smoke and mirrors trickery is being employed. If these candidates have not been thrown out of the Tory party then they have chosen to hide their true identity from the voters. If they cannot stand up and be counted in their own colours, you cannot trust them to stand… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

The Tories using Soviet tactics of covert subversion doesn’t surprise me one iota. Also, people should not forget that to be a Conservative candidate in any election had to favour abolishing our Senedd Cymru to be considered. And the methodology of political cloaking is called. Worm your way in under false pretences, or the Trojan Tory.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

No one can say that’s not fair comment when various Tory MPs, MSs and Conservative commentators have recently labelled our Government and nation ‘Totalitarian’, Authoritarian’, ‘Stasi’ and a ‘one party state’. What a freak show.

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

First question I ask on the doorstep.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

Is the man I the middle photo “Rene” from Allo Allo

Erisian
Erisian
1 month ago

Although it always nice to people moving away from toxic Conservative and Unionist views, it would be very unfortunate if after flying a flag of independence they just-so-happened to end up supporting the Tory position most of the time.
One to watch for voters in Clydach.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago
Reply to  Erisian

Which is what they will certainly do.

Chris Franks
Chris Franks
1 month ago

Labour don’t seem to know that all candidates have to legally state if they had been a member of a political party in the last 12 months.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

The traditional label for a Tory, in past elections in the Rhondda was, either independent or ratepayer, as they would not get elected as Tory’s, but would propose Tory policies if elected, and follow very closely the official Tory manifesto. I worked with a former indy councilor who was a member of the Tory party, and a local freemason.

NPTCymro
NPTCymro
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Agree with everything you said, but what’s wrong with freemasonry?

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