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Ombudsman investigates own employee in Neil McEvoy probe

28 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Neil McEvoy

Martin Shipton

The Welsh Ombudsman’s office has confirmed that it is investigating whether one of its senior employees has broken its code of conduct by making disparaging comments on social media about former MS Neil McEvoy and the political party he leads.

The inquiry is also looking at other social media posts that would indicate bias.

Although he lost his South Wales Central Senedd seat in 2021, Mr McEvoy was reelected to Cardiff council the following year as a representative of the Propel party that he founded.

Cllr McEvoy says a whistleblower told him that a Twitter account named @SweetlittleSewandsew had made derogatory comments about him and the Conservative Party, and that the person responsible for the account was a senior employee of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, based in Bridgend.

Repel

Two comments relate to Cllr McEvoy. One, in a message to former Cardiff Labour councillor Siobhan Corria shortly after the politician lost his Senedd seat, said: “I hope NM gets the message and decides to foxtrot Oscar.” [f*** off].

The other, also to Ms Corria, referred to Mr McEvoy’s political party as Repel instead of Propel, adding: “They got 600 votes in Bridgend which is 600 to [sic] many IMO.

Other tweets by @SweetlittleSewandsew that show political bias include:

* Gimme an E, gimme an N, gimme a T, gimme an I, gimme a T, gimme an L, gimme an E, gimme a D, what does it spell Boris Johnson;

* @jeremycorbyn as leader of @UKLabour is an honest return to party roots and offers a genuine alternative to @Conservatives:

* [During lockdown]. People in Wales can still go out. Instead of worrying about Wales speak to your Tory buddies about feeding kids in England;

* [Referring to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell]. She’s a Tory Stan. Geri has always been an awful human being. She was spouting Tory nonsense back in the 90s. She and Posh were anti Europe (although I think a remainer now) and royalist.

Serious concern

The profile of @SweetlittleSewandsew states: “Impeccable music taste, loves sewing, studying again, employee, consumer, me, she/her, injustice fixer.” The account is followed by former Ombudsman Nick Bennett and has retweeted a number of announcements by the Ombudsman’s office.

Cllr McEvoy reported his concerns about the tweets and the true identity of the author to Cardiff council’s monitoring officer earlier this week. He said: “If it turns out that the person concerned is a senior employee of the Ombudsman’s office, it will be a matter for very serious concern. I was tipped off by a whistleblower about who is responsible, and clearly the first thing for any investigation is to see whether the identity matches or not. There are certainly very strong indications that it is the same person.

“The Ombudsman’s office has to be politically neutral and it would be wholly unacceptable for someone prepared to express themselves in this way to work in such a responsible role. How could any Conservative councillor, for example, expect to get a fair hearing from such a person? I know there is concern from every party except Labour about the way some complaints have been handled by the Ombudsman’s office. It’s essential that the public can have confidence that complaints will be looked at in a fair and unbiased manner, without political prejudice.”

A spokeswoman for the Ombudsman’s office said: “We were made aware of these allegations two days ago and we are dealing with this matter. As I am sure you can appreciate, we take allegations of this nature very seriously and will investigate in accordance with our Standards of Conduct. We cannot comment further at this stage as we will need to conduct our own internal investigation.”

Fraught relationship

Mr McEvoy himself has had a fraught relationship with the Ombudsman’s office over many years. He has twice been suspended by Cardiff council following findings against him by the Ombudsman.

In March 2017 a Cardiff Council tribunal found a comment that Cllr McEvoy made to a council officer after a tenant’s eviction hearing in 2015 amounted to “bullying behaviour”.[ In July 2019, Cllr McEvoy was again found to have engaged in intimidating behaviour – this time towards a care home worker. He contended that the case involved a child who had suffered “the worst case I’ve come across in 30 years”.

Elected to the Senedd as a Plaid Cymru AM (now MS) in 2016, he was expelled by Plaid and sat as an Independent before forming Propel.


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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
12 days ago

Although I have issues with former Plaid member & MS Neil McEvoy regarding his past conduct and those he associates with, especially that lockdown loon from a certain cinema in Swansea who recklessly breached Covid rules, find the personal comments made by that ombudsman employee totally unacceptable.

Neil McEvoy
Neil McEvoy
12 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

The issue I was suspended for 1 month before the Election campaign in 2017, took place in 2015. It was held back for politics in my view. 2020 was all about protecting Drakeford; in the case, the person who the child said abused it started the complaint; I was supporting the child. The fire was then on me, not him. The Ombudsman is used as a means to control political opposition. If the person does in fact head up investigations (that remains to be seen), what does that tell everybody about the validity of their investigations? The possible corruption of… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 days ago
Reply to  Neil McEvoy

Sure, you stood your ground on many things, rightly so, I accept that , but you also gave those hostile to Plaid Cymru and devolution a lot of ammunition to fire back.

Last edited 11 days ago by Y Cymro
Steffan Gwent
Steffan Gwent
11 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

A culture of omerta to protect Plaid and devolution at all cost should be resisted. Some critics claim that devolution in Wales is a middle class gravy train. McEvoy is an exception to this stereotype.

Neil McEvoy
Neil McEvoy
11 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

The fire & ammunition came from within. Sabotage after we got more votes than Labour in Cardiff West May 2017.

Yuri Nator
Yuri Nator
12 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Cinema & Co’s issue was over the whole Covid passes though, was it not? Are you seriously maintaining those rules over the Covid passes were in any way shape or form necessary or actually beneficial? Bear in mind that in Scotland Sturgeon decided to not extend the equivalent to cinemas, theatres and other hospitality venues because the Scottish government’s own report – The Spectator referred to a “70 page dossier” – concluded there was no evidence to support them. Sturgeon said it wouldn’t be proportionate to have extended vaccine passes to cinemas etc. at the time. The whole premise for… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 days ago
Reply to  Yuri Nator

Sorry, I disagree. If you had a family member die of Covid like I did would thing differently. The wayward owner of that Swansea cinema was ordered to close, she ignored the court ruling, played a Covid conspiracy film, and even made unfounded allegations against the Welsh NHS.

Richard E
Richard E
12 days ago

The political scene in Wales throws up ⬆️ talented individuals across all parties who just attract controversy and intrigue. NMc is certainly one of these folk.

While the body politic is enhanced by those who challenge and give often unpopular points of view – the new media platforms equally offer temptations for others to vent their own frustrations…..thinking that anonymity is guaranteed.

always have courage not to hide 🙈 in the dark

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 days ago
Reply to  Richard E

Honesty and having principles in politics seems to be a dirty word these days. And don’t get he wrong. I’m an admirer of Neil MCAvoy as a man and politician. But aligning yourself with Covid conspiracy theorists like cinema owner Anna Redfern and those present at the screening such as Wesley Garner of Morriston, Swansea, who on his Facebook page made claims that 5G caused Covid only causes further distress to those still suffering families. Neil is better than that.

Neil McEvoy
Neil McEvoy
11 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Hi Y Cymro, let’s just agree here on protecting Welsh democracy. That day in Swansea I was working professionally, merits aside.

hdavies15
hdavies15
11 days ago

Not at all surprised to read that an important public safeguarding agency has been subverted by a bigot. Probably more than one in there just as they turn up elsewhere in the public sector. No need to make a big issue out of them, just fire them when they get identified. With a bit of luck they might not get employed elsewhere.

Glen
Glen
11 days ago

Welsh politics is a lot poorer and more boring without Mr.McEvoy.
But dissidence isn’t tolerated in a one party state like Wales.

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