Wales politics

Neil McEvoy 'unable to rejoin Plaid Cymru group before elections'

Neil McEvoy at the Plaid Cymru conference
Image caption Neil McEvoy says his suspension from the Plaid Senedd group is "just a detail"

An AM who has been suspended from the Plaid Cymru group in the Senedd has said he is unable to return to the fold before the council elections in May.

Neil McEvoy was also suspended as a Cardiff councillor after a tribunal ruled a comment to a council officer amounted to "bullying behaviour".

He said he could not agree a form of words with Plaid leader Leanne Wood.

But Mr McEvoy did offer an apology to the officer involved who had said she felt her job was threatened.

The AM for South Wales Central - who has been leader of the Plaid group on Cardiff council - used a press conference in the Welsh Assembly building on Tuesday to launch pledges for his council election campaign.

He said the matter of his suspension from the Plaid group was "just a detail" and that relations remained cordial - but he said he could not compromise his appeal against the tribunal.

Earlier in March Mr McEvoy was suspended as a Cardiff councillor for one month following the hearing at the Adjudication Panel for Wales into events following a court hearing in 2015.

Plaid Cymru subsequently suspended him from its Senedd group pending its own inquiry into his behaviour.

'Of course I would apologise'

The tribunal heard that the officer, Deborah Carter, had said she felt a comment - "I can't wait until May 2017 when the restructure of the council happens" - was a threat to her job, following an eviction hearing for a council tenant.

Mr McEvoy appeared to offer a qualified apology to Ms Carter, saying: "In terms of the individual concerned, if on the day she did feel in any way that she said she did... of course I would apologise to her.

"Because why would I want anyone to feel like that? Why would I want anybody to say they felt like that?"

Mr McEvoy said he had also spoken to Presiding Officer Elin Jones about comments directed at him by Communities Secretary Carl Sargeant in the Senedd chamber, saying he would make a formal complaint.

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