Mid Wales

Council chief Myfanwy Alexander resigns over N-word

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Media captionMyfanwy Alexander held the cabinet brief for education and children's services

Powys council's deputy leader has resigned after using the N-word during a council meeting.

Myfanwy Alexander used the word in a debate about cross-border health services last month.

She later apologised and said she had been speaking about the treatment of some patients when they travel over the border to Shropshire for treatment.

After initially refusing to quit over the "careless word", she said she came under "pressure" to resign on Tuesday.

"This matter appears to be feeding the toxic nature of division within the county council, it has been made clear to me that I cannot remain on the cabinet," she wrote in her resignation letter.

'Not a racist'

"I am not a racist and I believe that by resigning, I am accepting a slur on my character which is entirely untrue.

"My resignation has not been tendered without pressure and I would have expected to encounter more loyalty.

"It is, alas, a situation which has to be resolved and you are of the opinion that I should resign."

A spokesman for the council said Ms Alexander would remain a county councillor representing the Banwy ward.

Council leader Barry Thomas said: "I can confirm that councillor Alexander has tendered her resignation from the cabinet with immediate effect and I have accepted that resignation."

The Shropshire Star quoted her as saying: "We are treated like ******* over the border."

No confidence vote

She added: "Our language and culture is trampled on and it's a very sensitive issue.

"It's not our fault that we don't have a district general hospital to go to."

There had been calls for the independent councillor to resign over her use of the word, but she initially resisted them. Ms Alexander told BBC Wales she eventually decided to resign after opposition groups suggested they could bring a vote of no confidence in her.

As Powys council is led by a group of independent councillors who do not have an overall majority, they rely on opposition groups for support.

After Ms Alexander was reprimanded for using the racial slur, she explained she was quoting from author Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, where a black character is refused dental treatment.

"But people who know me will know it was a careless word. You should resign for an attitude, not a word," she said at the time.

John Morris, leader of the council's Liberal Democrat group, said her resignation was "inevitable".

"Her position was untenable from the moment she uttered the words," he added.

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