Wales politics

Neil McEvoy's £9,000 bill after bullying appeal dropped

Neil McEvoy
Image caption Neil McEvoy said he was "found innocent in the court of public opinion" in local elections

A Plaid Cymru AM must pay nearly £9,000 costs after dropping an appeal against a tribunal finding that a comment he made amounted to "bullying behaviour".

Neil McEvoy was suspended as a councillor for a month but was found not to have brought Cardiff council into disrepute.

The Public Service Ombudsman said his dropping of the appeal "vindicates the decision to investigate".

Mr McEvoy said he would now pursue the case "in a political way".

The story so far:

  • A council officer claimed she felt "threatened" by a comment Mr McEvoy made after he supported a council tenant at an eviction hearing in July 2015
  • He said "I can't wait until May 2017 [the date of council elections] when the restructure of the council happens"
  • In February this year, a tribunal found the remark amounted to "bullying behaviour"
  • Mr McEvoy, an AM for South Wales Central, was suspended from the Plaid Cymru assembly group in March after the Adjudication Panel for Wales decided he broke Cardiff council's code of conduct
  • He was readmitted a month later after he apologised to the officer, but maintained the complaint was politically motivated
  • His barrister submitted papers for a judicial review on 22 March and withdrew the appeal on 31 May, a week before the first hearing was listed
  • Mr McEvoy has been ordered to repay £8,970 to cover the Ombudsman's legal costs
Image caption Neil McEvoy arriving for the tribunal in March

A Public Services Ombudsman for Wales spokesman said: "The Ombudsman is glad this matter has come to a conclusion.

"The outcome wholly vindicates the decision to investigate the complaint against councillor McEvoy and refer the matter to the Adjudication Panel for Wales."

Citing his re-election as a Cardiff councillor at May's local elections, Mr McEvoy said the results "show that I have been found innocent in the court of public opinion".

"I'm drawing a line on the court action but not the actual issue," he said.

"I think the most effective way that I can take things forward is in a political way by continuing to expose the one-party state we have in Wales."

BBC Wales also understands a separate internal Plaid Cymru inquiry into Mr McEvoy's behaviour has yet to formally start despite starting almost four months ago.

Following the tribunal outcome, Mr McEvoy was subject to a number of accusations on social media about his behaviour.

The party launched an inquiry, which a spokeswoman at the time said would "look at all evidence and complaints available to it".

Its executive committee will meet on Friday night to discuss the way forward for the disciplinary panel, chaired by solicitor Fflur Jones.

A report is expected to be published within six weeks.

Related Topics

More on this story