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Plaid Cymru probe finds ‘toxic’ culture of bullying and misogyny within the party

03 May 2023 3 minute read
Adam Price. Picture by Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru have apologised after a damning review found a culture of harassment, bullying and misogyny in the party.

The report states the party had “failed to implement a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment” and that women had been “especially” let down.

It also said “too many instances of bad behaviour” by elected members have been tolerated within the party so that staff felt “there is little point in raising concerns”.

A total of 82 recommendations have been made to “detoxify” the party’s culture.

Plaid leader Adam Price said he was “deeply sorry” and that all the recommendations would be taken on board.

The party’s National Executive Committee and Mr Price jointly commissioned the review, which was led by former Plaid politician Nerys Evans, and it began to look into the party’s culture last December.

One of the key findings of the Prosiect Pawb (Everyone’s Project) report was that inherent power imbalances within the party “coupled with inaction over many years from those with positions of power to challenge bad behaviour, has made a bad situation even worse”.

It said that despite the party having a robust complaints procedure, it needed to develop a system to “deal with the distinct issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and within the membership”.

It added: “There is lack of faith and trust in the policies we do have in place due to historic issues of inconsistencies in how our policies and procedures have been implemented which has exacerbated the situation.”

Discrimination

Evidence from an anonymous staff survey and elected members “highlight cases of sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination”, the report said, claiming: “These are not isolated cases.”

The survey also found most discrimination was gender-based, it said.

The report concluded that Plaid’s governing body “must be confident actions taken in the light of Prosiect Pawb’s findings and recommendations will be effective in enabling permanent, non-reversible measures to detoxify a culture of harassment, bullying and misogyny and to make Plaid truly and visibly welcoming to women”.

In a joint statement, Mr Price and Plaid chairman Marc Jones said: “It is clear that there are instances – both historically and in more recent times – whereby unacceptable behaviour has been allowed to take place or go unchallenged and that our processes and governance arrangements have been inadequate to address this.

“Individuals have been let down as a result – women especially, but also men.

“For that, on behalf of the collective leadership of Plaid Cymru, we are deeply sorry.

“It is clear that we must do better if we are to foster a culture which is safe, inclusive and respectful to all. That is how we will regain the trust of colleagues and members.”


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Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
9 months ago

Good to hear that there has been a proper investigation. The next stage should be to fire all those who have been found to be bullying and harassing their colleagues. Might also be useful if the remaining men got some training on how to be good team leaders and how to work in teams. After all, a political part is a team with an overall goal to achieve. Engaging in local power struggles only helps to hold the party back. One only needs to look at the Labour Party to see what can happen.

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter Cuthbert
CJPh
CJPh
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Where did it say the perpetrators were men (you mentioned “remaining men”)? It lists both men and women as being on the receiving end (with women receiving more harassment), but makes no mention of the offenders’ sex. I’m also slightly sceptical regarding the whole thing being led by a former Plaid person – is there no totally external body with no ties to the party that could have conducted this investigation? Also, if this were a “proper investigation”, how is it that the findings seem to only include an anonymous survey? These are public servants and elected officials – absolute… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by CJPh
Gill
Gill
9 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

How can a party led by strong women and gay people allow this to happen …they seem to witch hunt and bully men and women out of their party ….yup same old same old… power corrupts.. and agree that a woman so intertwined with the Carl Searjant tragedy should not have been allowed near this.

David
David
9 months ago
Reply to  Gill

Where there is misogyny, there may also be misandry, somewhere!

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
9 months ago

I bet at least half of the cases were Neil McEvoys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Riki
Riki
9 months ago

Okay, sure! Apparently it’s prevalent in all walks of Welsh society. In sports, At S4C, and now within Plaid Cymru. Either we as a people are plain horrible, or people are lying so they can score points with some, certain people. I refuse to believe the people of Wales are so petty. So im saying it, I don’t believe any of it.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
9 months ago
Reply to  Riki

So according to you women in Wales who have been sexually harassed or bullied are ‘making it up’. Thankfully neanderthal attitudes like that carry zero weight in Wales these days, and women who have experienced such shocking treatment are being listened to and believed. Youre probably one of those people who still thinks Jimmy Savile was ‘innocent’

Riki
Riki
9 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

I would like to see proof, not too much to ask for is it?. And talk about a leap. From me questioning the validity of an accusation to you Mentioning Jimmy Saville. How about you Stop using extremes in order to score points and make it seem your in the right. Since when was it so controversial to ask for proof?

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
9 months ago
Reply to  Riki

Sadly, the Welsh people, of whom I am one, are indeed petty. Has noone heard of the Welsh Lobster syndrome, where anyone who tries to succeed is pulled back? Comes from being conquered. The cause of Indy was taken over by people who (a) gave priority to social = sexual issues and (b) had no real interest in Indy anyway, and (c) got hold of some power for which they were not suited. Dear, oh dear. We will have to start all over again. Ok. Who’s up for this?

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
9 months ago

Very much welcome the decision to accept the recommendations of the review in their entirety, but the fact there are 82 of them suggests there was something very wrong with the culture within the party. Surely expulsions for the most serious offenders identified during this review process now need to follow? Only such strong and decisive measures as that will send a clear message that misogyny and bullying will not be tolerated within plaid cymru .

Glen
Glen
9 months ago

Snowflakes in politics who complain about ‘bullying’ ought to try working in industry or construction.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
9 months ago
Reply to  Glen

Ok boomer

CJPh
CJPh
9 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Your response to this point is, effectively, “you’re old” (ironically using a meme phrase from 7 years ago). Do you have a point?

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago

The “my way or no way” mindset creeps into all aspects of public life. This in turn leads to imposition from above, eventually bullying in many forms. Whether the victims are male or female doesn’t matter, both also have capacity for engaging in such behaviours. Plaid needs to sort this one out for real because the other parties will enjoy making a meal of it despite their own shortcomings.

CJPh
CJPh
9 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Here’s a radical proposal – a political party is not a company, it shouldn’t operate like one. These proposed measures and this whole situation seems very much like those seen in myriad organisations across the anglosphere in recent years (usually ending up with early retirements and new board members with veeeery similar beliefs to those who conducted the investigations). Now, it may very well be that Plaid is rife with monstrous people, but this approach seems to be a wrong fit in order to improve the situation. Private sector issues has shareholder responsibility to ensure that this fad for witchunting… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by CJPh
hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

Sadly, too many people in politics do see it as a career and very rewarding too. Time spent in research and other support work followed by nomination then election into representative role (democracy pays)and if voted out a move into those luvly commissions and other “light duties” so beloved by worn out politicians. Am I being cynical ? Not really, I see things for what they are.

Frank
Frank
9 months ago

Why does Adam Price always look so worried?

max wallis
max wallis
9 months ago

Has the investigation been adequate? Were a) Helen Mary Jones and b) Neil McEvoy asked? Since the toxic culture started under Leanne, with manipulation of election nominations and expulsions, would they have trusted Nerys Evans as Leanne’s close friend?

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