Standards Committee recommends Neil McEvoy be excluded from the Senedd
The Senedd Standards Committee has recommended that Neil McEvoy be excluded from the chamber’s proceedings.
According to their report, which includes allegations of bullying, the regional MS for the South Wales Central region has been found to have breached Senedd rules, and it recommends that he be excluded proceedings for 21 calendar days.
The Committee also recommends that the former Plaid Cymru MS, who is now leader of the Welsh Nation Party, has his right of access to Ty Hywel and the Senedd removed during this 21 day period.
The report includes a complaint by the Labour MS, Mick Antoniw, who said that Mr McEvoy has behaved towards him in a “very intimidatory manner”.
Mr McEvoy admits to calling Antoniw a “spineless red tory” and said that he was “embarrassed for him and will make no apology”.
The report also contains the testimony of several witnesses who say they saw the incident take place.
Roderick Evans, the former Standards Commissioner, found that: “That during that incident Neil McEvoy behaved in a threatening and intimidatory way to Mick Antoniw and employed physical and verbal aggression to do so.
He went on: “I am satisfied that the behaviour of Mr McEvoy on 21st May went well beyond what is an acceptable manifestation of inter-personal tension.
“Descriptions of his conduct reveal a level of aggression that would not be acceptable in licensed premises let alone in the National Assembly in front of members of staff and members of the public.”
A letter from Mick Antoniw to Roderick Evans about the incident said: “1.20 pm I came from Ty Hywel from the canteen and walked to the lift chatting to David Melding AM. We went down the lift together and towards the security door heading towards the Siambr.
“Neil McEvoy AM was ahead of us, turned round and came towards me in an aggressive manner and raised voice insulting me and saying something about how dare I call him a bully.
“I believe that this was likely to be a follow on from the previous week in the Siambr when he was being offensive and abusive to the First Minister and I commented then to him he was a convicted bully. (He was found guilty of bullying by the Ombudsman in the past and suspended from sitting as a Cardiff Councillor.)
“I had not had any contact at all with him until this incident. I told him I did not want to speak to him. I said this several times. He continued ranting at me.
“I told him not to speak to me and I did not want to speak to him. I walked off and he followed me chasing me shouting at me and physically blocking my path. I told him two more times to leave me alone as I did not want to speak to him.
“He continued rounding on me in a very intimidatory manner. I told him not to speak to me or I would report him to the Standards Commissioner. He said ‘go on then. I know all about you, you red Tory, you are just a bully, I know all about you. You’re a coward in your big group. I will get you’.
“It occurred in front of others including security staff outside the entrance to the Siambr. There were others around.
“His manner was physically and vocally threatening in a public place in front of others. It was initiated by him. I made efforts to avoid him several times and go away from him but was pursued by him.
“I believe his objective was to intimidate me. I felt threatened. This is why I am reporting it to you.
“In the current climate and with the training in the Assembly to promote the respect agenda I am concerned that if I do not report his conduct it will become normalised and acceptable and quite possibly increase.
“I understand that-one of the ushers witnessed part of this. I informed him that I would be reporting this to you. I have not asked him for full details, but he did tell me that he heard Neil McEvoy calling me spineless and ‘being in my face’.
“I know passions in the Siambr can get high and this is part of the politics of this place. However this was in public, in front of others, on the way to my carrying out my duties in the Assembly and went significantly beyond normal conversation and even banter to the extent that I was threatened.
“Please accept this letter as a formal report of breach of standards and I await your response.”
Neil McEvoy gave his account of the incident in a letter to the Standards Commissioner.
He said: “Here’s my response. You have all the facts. He publicly called me a “convicted bully”, which was reported to the Llywydd but no action was taken, despite it being clearly audible on the microphones and in the Chamber (Antoniw admits this). I therefore privately called him a spineless red tory.
“As a result, he has gone running off to a practicing High Court judge and tried to get his Tory mate involved. I’m embarrassed for him and will make no apology.
“If the Standards Commissioner wants to further bring his office into disrepute then he should investigate this. I will be providing no further comments.”