Neil McEvoy handed Senedd suspension

Source: wts wikivoyage (via. Wikimedia Commons)

Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central, Neil McEvoy has been issued a suspension from the Senedd following an investigation into an “aggressive” incident.

Neil McEvoy, who has been handed a suspension.
Neil McEvoy (Source: Neil McEvoy AM, via. Wikimedia Commons).

The sole MS for the Wales National Party was involved in an incident with Labour MS Nick Antoniw, where McEvoy was described as having been “physically and verbally aggressive”. 

The case was heard in front of the Senedd’s standards committee, who ruled that McEvoy’s conduct constituted a “severe breach” of the Senedd’s code of conduct. 

One witness said that McEvoy “appeared to be struggling to retain his composure. I did not know what he would do next.”

“It looked as though Neil was going to punch Mick. I have never seen anyone so angry,” another added.

As a result of the ruling,  McEvoy has been suspended until January 2021, during which time he will not be permitted to enter the Senedd estate and will have his salary cut. 

The initial investigation

The former standards commissioner, Sir Roderick Evans completed a review into McEvoy’s behaviour. His report was written prior to his resignation, which came in 2019 in light of covert recordings that were made by McEvoy in the Senedd. 

The ruling by the committee follows Evans’ initial investigation into McEvoy’s behaviour.

“Descriptions of [Mr McEvoy’s] conduct reveal a level of aggression that would not be acceptable in licensed premises let alone in the National Assembly in front of members of staff and members of the public,” Evans wrote at the time.

At the time of his resignation, Evans said that “highly confidential conversations” with his staff had been recorded without his knowledge. 

“That a member of our national assembly could behave in this way is wholly unacceptable. It undermines the integrity of the complaints procedure and brings our democratic process into disrepute. 

“I’m not prepared to continue in my role as standards commissioner,” said Evans at the time of stepping down. 

A series of controversies

McEvoy was first elected to the Senedd in 2016, having stood for Plaid Cymru. Prior to this, he was a councillor on Cardiff Council, first for Labour and then Plaid Cymru. 

Before being elected to the Senedd, McEvoy reportedly described the domestic violence support charity, Welsh Women’s Aid, as “publicly funded child abuse”. 

His Senedd career hasn’t been without controversy, either.

The politician was expelled from the Plaid Cymru group in the Senedd in 2018 after undermining the party on council housing policy.

After being suspended from the party, McEvoy created a breakaway, nationalist party, the Wales National Party. 

He maintains that he’ll contest seats at the 2021 Senedd elections, though the latest polling suggests that the party isn’t likely to pick up any seats. 

The remaining members of the Senedd voted on Wednesday, December 9 to uphold the ban, upon which the member will be suspended for three weeks, the longest ban in history.

Neil McEvoy himself rejects the outcome of the hearing.

He told the BBC: “It’s no surprise to me that the first Welsh born person of colour is being given the longest ban in Senedd history for saying a few choice words to a Labour politician. 

“They are gutless Red Tories,” he said. 

Follow @gairrhyddpol for all of the latest updates from the world of politics.

Politics Morgan Perry

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