Wales Election 2016

Plaid Cymru candidate Arfon Jones defends 'bomb' tweet

Arfon Jones

The Plaid Cymru police and crime commissioner candidate for north Wales said a tweet urging people to "keep GCHQ quiet" by sending emails containing the words "bomb, terrorist and Iran" was meant "in jest".

Arfon Jones said the comment was "banter" in response to UK government plans to extend surveillance powers.

Mr Jones also stood by a tweet that said the "UK created ISIS".

He added that he did not recall using a swear word to describe David Cameron.

Conservative MP David Jones, a former Welsh secretary, said he was "shocked".

'Enough power'

In a tweet posted on 1 April 2012, Arfon Jones wrote: "I think we should have a protest where thousands of us send emails containing the words bomb+terrorist+Iran. That should keep GCHQ quiet."

Mr Jones said it was meant "in jest" and followed proposals to give the security services more power to monitor people's internet use.

Spying agencies had "enough power already", he told BBC Wales.

Image copyright ArfonJ/Twitter
Image caption One of Arfon Jones' tweets

Plaid candidate defends 'bomb' tweets

Mr Jones, a councillor in Wrexham, is a former police inspector in north Wales who retired in 2008 after 30 years in the police.

Shortly before the Nato summit in Newport in 2014, he said increasing the terror threat was "ironic", adding: "Nato countries created Islamic State after all."

Another tweet last July about airstrikes in Syria said: "UK created ISIS/ISIL so let's bomb them!"

'Ill-thought through intervention'

In a statement he said: "These comments related to my concerns that further Western military involvement in the Middle East would lead to more radicalisation and intensify the violence in the region.

"Furthermore, that intervention would increase the threat to security here at home and make terror attacks on the UK mainland more likely.

"Former head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller herself admitted that the Iraq invasion had radicalised many young Muslims who saw the war as an attack upon their religion.

"To date, foreign airstrikes have killed over 2,000 civilians in Syria alone. It is clear that ill-thought through intervention leads to further bloodshed and instability, and I stand by that view."

Clwyd West MP David Jones said: "These are by any standards very extreme views, and not what people would expect from a man who wants to be put in charge of policing in North Wales.

"Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood, must now say whether she and her party continue to support Arfon Jones, given the extreme nature of his opinions."

Ms Wood told BBC Wales she was sure Mr Jones' Twitter feed would "perhaps be more sort of in line with the role in which he is seeking to be elected to".

More on this story