Wales politics

Neil McEvoy re-admitted to Plaid Cymru group after apology

Neil McEvoy
Image caption A council officer said a comment made by Neil McEvoy amounted to a threat to her job

Neil McEvoy has been re-admitted to the Plaid Cymru group in the Senedd.

The AM was suspended from the group earlier this month after a tribunal ruled a comment to a council officer amounted to "bullying behaviour".

Mr McEvoy has now apologised to the officer, acknowledging that "she has said" the comment caused her distress.

Last week Mr McEvoy said he did not expect to return before May's council elections.

The Adjudication Panel for Wales suspended Mr McEvoy from his position as Cardiff councillor for Fairwater for a month at its ruling earlier this March.

The tribunal had heard that, following a court hearing concerning an eviction in Cardiff in 2015, the Cardiff council Plaid group leader had said "I can't wait until May 2017 when the restructure of the council happens".

The council officer, Deborah Carter, had told the hearing she believed the comment had been directed at her and she considered it to be a threat to her job.

Following the panel's decision the Plaid Senedd group suspended Mr McEvoy, and since then his colleagues have tried to agree on the wording of an apology from the AM for South Wales Central.

'I stand by my actions'

In his statement the Plaid AM said: "I have reflected on the judgment of the Adjudication Panel. I stand by my actions in defending a single mother and daughter facing an unnecessary eviction.

"I maintain that my comment was not directed at the council officer, but I acknowledge that she has said that my comment caused distress and for that I apologise.

"The complaint was later made by a Labour councillor, and I maintain that the complaint against me was politically motivated.

"I am exploring with my legal team seeking leave from the High Court for judicial review of the Adjudication Panel's decision. I will respect the verdict of that appeal."

The Plaid group, which made the decision at a meeting in the Senedd building on Tuesday morning, said it now considered the matter closed.

A separate investigation led by Plaid's chairman Alun Ffred Jones - said to be looking at all evidence and complaints available to it regarding Mr McEvoy - is continuing.

Image caption Mick Antoniw said Welsh tribunals should be defended "from unwarranted and unsubstantiated attacks"

Plaid said the suspension of Mr McEvoy from the group had related specifically to the panel's ruling.

He remains suspended from Cardiff council, and has not been given back his previous frontbench role as sports and tourism spokesman.

In a separate development Counsel General Mick Antoniw, the Welsh Government's senior legal adviser, issued a statement to AMs in defence of Welsh tribunals - including the Adjudication Panel for Wales.

He said they should be "defended from political interference" and "unwarranted and unsubstantiated attacks and criticism in the exercise of their public responsibilities".

Mr McEvoy had criticised the Adjudication Panel for Wales publicly ahead of its proceedings.

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