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Ombudsman official resigns after “F*** the Tories” row

04 Apr 2024 5 minute read
Sinead Cook’s X profile

The head of investigations at the Welsh Ombudsman’s office has resigned, days after Nation.Cymru revealed that she had made a series of prejudicial social media posts, including one that said “F*** the Tories”.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW) confirmed that Sinead Cook had stood down and was no longer an employee of the organisation.

Ms Cook, who worked for the PSOW for nearly a decade, ran a Twitter / X account under the pseudonym @SweetlittleSewandsew. She also posted messages using the aliases Schnade Cee and Smoogi Cookster.

One of Sinead Cook’s tweets

Using her @SweetlittleSewandsew account, Ms Cook wrote: “While we are all debating what GL [Gary Lineker] said in talking about the boycott of MOTD [Match of the Day], we are not talking about the fact the Government is trying to pass a Bill which is incompatible with the Human Rights Act and morally reprehensible. F*** the Tories [spelt out].”

‘Bonkers’

Other posts by Ms Cook included a response to someone who had written: “Seeing far too many Vote Conservative signs for my liking. How can anyone with a conscience still vote for them?”. @SweetlittleSewandsew said: “I’ve come to the conclusion that people are just too stubborn to admit they were wrong, so double down. It’s bonkers.”

Responding to a post from Bridgend Tory MP Jamie Wallis in which he said: “I am actively seeking a seat elsewhere with a sense of humour and a philosophical view, @SweetlittleSewandsew wrote: “If the people of Bridgend didn’t have a sense of humour, he would never have been elected. He’s a joke.”

Other tweets by @SweetlittleSewandsew that showed political bias included:

* 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.

In her various guises Ms Cook was critical of the Bridgend County Independents group on the county borough council. Cllr Amanda Williams, who leads the group, told us: “I have a legal background and used to investigate complaints for a local health board. I have very serious concerns about the Ombudsman’s office. There is no doubt in my mind that non-Labour councillors are treated more harshly than Labour councillors. While complaints made about Labour councillors tend to be dismissed quickly, non-Labour councillors can wait for a very long time to have complaints against them resolved. This causes immense stress. I am aware of one councillor who has contemplated suicide because of such delays. This is completely unacceptable and things must change.”

Two comments related to former Senedd Member Neil McEvoy. One, a message to former Cardiff Labour councillor Siobhan Corria shortly after Mr McEvoy 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.”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Local Government Minister Sam Rowlands told us: “It is deeply concerning that someone of such seniority in the Ombudsman’s office should display such a prejudicial attitude. For many people, the Ombudsman is the port of last call, and it is vital that the office conducts itself with dignity, respect and fairness.

“In these circumstances, the Welsh Government may have to insist that the Ombudsman trawls through past cases to ensure that they have been dealt with fairly. I am aware of concerns that some non-Labour councillors appear to have been treated harshly while Labour councillors have had complaints against them dismissed without an investigation.”

Deeply concerning

Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies told journalists on Thursday: “I would prefer a new ombudsman to be put in place and a new body… I don’t have confidence in them. It is deeply concerning.”

He added: “Every single case that has been put to the ombudsman since Ms Cook was investigating needs to be looked at by someone independent.”

Before Ms Cook’s resignation was announced, Nation.Cymru took issue with a statement given by PSOW to the Daily Mail which suggested other members of staff were not aware of Ms Cook’s social media activity using other names. We pointed out there was evidence that using her @SweetlittleSewandsew persona she had engaged with former Ombudsman Nick Bennett and that he clearly knew who she was.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales before Ms Cook’s resignation, the current Ombudsman Michelle Morris said she had been shocked by what had happened.

“We moved promptly to speak to that member of staff and suspend them,” she said.

“This is way below the standard of conduct we expect from our officers.”

Ms Morris said her office had 70 members of staff and the allegations involved one of them, but acknowledged she had work to do to ensure there was “faith” in the organisation’s impartiality.

Later Mr Davies said: “I welcome the resignation of the senior investigator at the PSOW after being caught making hateful online comments. But we now need every case which she oversaw to be reopened and fully reinvestigated.”


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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Seeing how the Welsh Conservatives are so thin-skinned are the equivalent of overripe political pears that easily bruise , hope they will follow suit the lead of former public ombudsman Sinead Cook by resigning en masse their posts as they all serve no actual purpose to Wales other than being expensive political draft excluders. And I look forward hearing in the media that divisive political pygmy David TC Davies , baiter of Gypsies , hater of Wales, lover of England, has done the decent thing by handing in his resignation as Welsh Secretary, because he doesn’t deserve the oxygen of… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

What you say about the tories in Wales may well be true but with respect that isnt the issue here. The issue here is the impartiality – or lack of it – of the person tasked with investigating referrals to the Public service ombudsman Wales. No doubt Miss Cook’s resignation will now (rather conveniently) spare PSOW the embarrassment of an independent investigation into its work since she worked for them. PS. why on earth does this seemingly failing body need to have 70 people working for it?

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I agree with you 100%.

Steve George
Steve George
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

TC is a prat! But two wrongs don’t make a right. I also think that any cases that she was closely involved with should be reviewed to ensure that her obvious personal political bias did not carry through into politically biased decision making. I also think Nick Bennett has some questions to answer if he was aware of this person’s bias and did nothing about it (or even tacitly encouraged it).

Neil McEvoy
Neil McEvoy
1 month ago

I blew the whistle through Martin Shipton & Nation. Good riddance to politicam corruption

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil McEvoy

Thanks. Perhaps they’ll get rid of a few more dotted around the place at various levels of government.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil McEvoy

Says Saint Neil, who’s never put a foot wrong himself.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

He ventured into cases and places that people like you preferred to have kept out of the public eye. Good for him but no doubt you and your sort sleep better at night because his wings got clipped.

Neil McEvoy
Neil McEvoy
1 month ago

I blew the whistle through Martin Shipton & Nation. Good riddance to political corruption

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil McEvoy

Love the encore !

George
George
1 month ago

Absolutely rotten.

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