Welsh Labour chair criticised over lenient treatment of councillor who threatened physical violence on TikTok
A council leader who is also the national chair of Welsh Labour has been accused of double standards after failing to ensure the suspension from the party of a councillor who used foul language and made threats of physical violence on a video she posted on TikTok.
Anthony Hunt, who leads Torfaen council and chairs Labour’s Welsh Executive Committee, said he didn’t condone Cllr Sue Malson’s behaviour, but that she had been feeling vulnerable after being threatened verbally and physically.
In the video, Cllr Malson, who represents the Trevethin & Penygarn ward of Pontypool, warns unnamed men she accuses of making “false allegations” against her that she will come after them and “take them down”. She warns against people “f***ing” with her family and tells critics to “grow a f***ing spine”.
In the video Cllr Malson, who is speaking directly to the camera, says she has been shown screenshots of “somebody slagging me off”. She then states: “Right, I called out a mush a couple of weeks ago. Six foot four-inch bloke, lanky streak of piss they won’t meet up with me. And yet again, Christmas night, another one joins him putting up false allegations. I’ve called him up. Why does this 60-year-old woman, four foot ten, call out men to take ‘em on and then don’t take the bait?
“Well you forget who I am. I’m Mushy’s gal, yeah I’m gypsy traveller, gorja. My father taught me, from a young age, to stand up for myself and at 60 years of age I’m still doing it. These mushes, grow a f***ing spine. If you can’t face me don’t slag me off, because I will come after you and I will take you down.”
Cllr Malson continues: “Any f***ing mush that wants to try and slag me down, you f***in’ face me because I’ll tell you what I might be short, I might be old, but I’ll take no f***in’ shit.
“I love my boy dearly, I love all my boys dearly, but when I go to mush, thinks they take the better of me, think again. I’ve laid dormant for 13 years, yes I’ve laid dormant because of my job roles, but will I f*** any more? I’m telling you now, you f*** with me, you f*** with my family then you’ve got me to deal with.”
“Gorja” is a Romany word meaning “non travelling person”.
‘Gone to ground’
A Welsh Labour source said: “Nobody could think this is acceptable, except for Torfaen council leader and Welsh Labour chair Anthony Hunt, who has gone to ground rather than act. Anthony chairs a Welsh Labour Party that is busy suspending councillors for checking residents’ addresses on a database but does nothing on public threats of violence. Leadership is about being seen to do the right thing even when it’s one of your allies who has behaved badly.”
The leader of Carmarthenshire County Council’s opposition group, Rob James, has been suspended from the party for two reasons, one of which involved accessing a party database to get the names and addresses of constituents of Swansea West MP Geraint Davies in connection with a local issue he was taking up.. Cllr James is employed by Mr Davies, who is also suspended from the party pending an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.
Cllr Hunt said: “This matter has been responded to swiftly. The council’s monitoring officer was made aware of the video and advice was immediately given to Cllr Malson.
“Cllr Malson has since apologised, accepted her language was inappropriate and taken down the video.
“Sue is an active councillor and champion for her community who works tirelessly to help people across the borough who are most in need. In no way do I condone the language used. However, the video was a spontaneous response to verbal and physical threats when she was alone late at night, unwell and feeling particularly vulnerable.
“The physical damage to Cllr Malson’s property was reported to the police, who were sufficiently concerned to offer advice and support and place a marker on her property.”
Cllr Malson is chief executive of the community charity TRAC2, which provides furniture, clothing, bedding, white goods and other goods to people on low incomes. It has been visited and praised by actor Michael Sheen.
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