Friday, 27 July 2018

Plaid Cymru seek to reinstate the unlawful libel clauses...really?!


Please read this earlier post for background; Those unlawful libel clauses - a call to arms

I understand that a meeting of the council's Constitutional Review Working Group (CRWG) was held earlier today. On the agenda was an Item on those infamous and unlawful libel indemnity clauses in the council's constitution.

The matter had been raised, I understand, by the leader of the Labour group Rob James who was pushing for some sort of decision as to what the administration intended to do, it was his express intention for them to be removed completely, rather than remain as 'suspended' for yet another four years.

It seems that the Plaid and Independent majority on the group, including Emlyn Dole, out-manoeuvred the three Labour members and resolved to write to the Wales Audit Office to ask if they could, legally, reinstate the clauses, on the basis that they consider them to be lawful.

If this is indeed the case, and I have asked Plaid politicians Jonathan Edwards MP and Adam Price AM to confirm Plaid's stance, then it is astonishing.

In 2014 the same Plaid councillors voted to accept the Wales Audit Office libel indemnity report which declared that it was unlawful for officers to be publicly funded to bring defamation claims, and, in fact, legislation expressly prohibited it anyway. At that time it was the Labour and Independents who voted just to 'note' the report and suspend the clauses.
All to save the skin of Mark James and Legal Linda who have refused to accept the findings.
They have claimed that the provision is lawful under case law and the vague powers under the Local Government Act of 1972.
Neither the case law, which in fact does not support such action, nor the LGA 1972 override the express prohibition in section 6(3) of the Indemnities Order 2006.

The about-turn of Plaid 'in-power', particularly Emlyn Dole is shocking and prior to today he has informed me that he now considers the clauses to be lawful. Anyone would think he owed his position to the, erm, generosity of Mark James...

I have written many times about these clauses and the sinister, chilling effect that the provision has on critics and the press alike. I will not repeat it all again here. A senior officer can still sue of course, like anyone else, but must use their own money, apart from in Carmarthenshire.

I find it remarkable that Plaid Cymru are apparently considering such an illiberal, unlawful and anti-democratic step. Let alone the potential cost risk to the taxpayers which can be (and was) hundreds of thousands of pounds.

If they are seriously going to try and do this then of course there is a lengthy process to follow. The response from the Wales Audit Office will eventually turn up on the agenda of a CRWG meeting, a recommendation will then be made which will, in turn, go to full council. It will run and run.

CRWG could have voted today to remove them completely and recommended this to the next meeting of full council.
It seems they did the exact opposite.

Carmarthenshire Council remains the only council in the UK to have this notorious provision in its constitution, it should be an embarrassment to them all. The failure to remove the clauses, and now, apparently, to seek reinstatement, shows the length they will go to protect the illegal actions of the chief executive and Monitoring Officer.

11 comments:

Teifion said...

Plaid Cymru must be SO ashamed of Emlyn Dole

Anonymous said...

Yet another example of this Council's belief that it is above the law. When, oh when, will the powers that be do something about this little tin pot dictator? Can't they see that we have had enough?

Tessa said...

Good God! Unbelievable! I reckon there must be some dirt held somewhere by someone on someone - this is just bizarre! Well, I guess Private Eye will be interested - this council is the gift that keeps on giving!

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like a certain person is getting very worried. He should be! It may be that things are getting too close for comfort where time and road is running out!

Myfanwy said...

I wish I could say that I don't believe it but, sadly, this latest outrageous volte-face by the Plaid group is all too credible in view of their apparent inability to stick to any sort of principles once in thrall to the power of the Chief Employee.

Anonymous said...

Time for Plaid to go.
All they are interested in is contradicting any opposing party, irrespective of the outcome.
No consideration whatsoever for their constituents.
Absolutely ridiculous, Emlyn Dole should be dumped for a start, he is certainly not fit for purpose.
Wake up you dopey buggers, can't you see the damage you are causing your party ?

Anonymous said...

The people of Carmarthen should be VERY concerned at the about-turn of the Plaid Leader of the Council. The very same person who was SO vociferous in his views about the actions of the CEO Mark James. How promotion can be seen to change one's views is quite apparent. Serious questions need to be asked as to why there is such a change of view. Mark James has a tendency to threaten legal action against ANYONE who dare to question his behaviour. Has Leader Dole been under too much influence by M J that he thinks that gives him the right to desist from answering searching questions about HIS actions? So much for his claim to make Carmarthen Council the most"transparent and democratic Council in the Country".

Martin Milan said...

When you are aware of the conduct of this council of the years, I don't think there can be any reaction to this "most open and honest council in Wales" tosh that laughter and derision. It seems to be meaningless marketing waffle, devoid of substance - perhaps even worse than that to be honest... I think we have to reflect on whether it is intentionally misleading and, if we have the time, why...

The duplicity of certain local politicians is displayed for all to see. There suitability for public office is a matter for the local electorate, who need to be better informed - a cause I am delighted to recognise Jacqui's efforts in promoting.

Open? Transparent?

1/ Jacqui Thompson
2/ Patricia Breckman
3/ End of discussion.

The council seems all to willing to use legal action to stifle criticism, presumably because it fails to recognise scrutinty and criticism for the positives they are. In a healthy democracy they should be embraced, not feared...

I have now taken a public office myself as a governor at a local primary school. I cannot help but question whether the commitment of certain people to the Nolan principles stacks up against the position adopted by myself and my colleagues...

Something stinks in Carmarthenshire...


Martin Milan said...

I would like to apologise for my grammar and typing there... Shocking...

Anonymous said...

It gives the impression that someone is hoping to take legal action again paid for by Joe Public.
But of course I may be wrong ;>)

Patricia B said...

Below are the words of the first Minister in a response to me......................

"I think it is vital that people in public services at all levels are clear about the standards they are expected to adhere to. So, for example, I and my Ministerial colleagues are subject to the Ministerial Code of Conduct and I regularly reinforce to them the importance of adhering to this code. More broadly, the Welsh Government ensures that the principles of public life (the Nolan Principles) are a basic expectation of everyone appointed to a public body which we fund".

I have questioned the Leader/Minister Dole, as to what part of this and indeed his Code of Conduct does he not understand. The same is hugely pertinent to Mark James, as to deceive and coverup criminal offences for certain individuals is to condone such conduct and become part of those criminal offences. This conduct ignores every single one of the Nolan Principles. Such conduct most certainly insults the taxpayer who relies on public servants to always act with honesty and integrity. As I have pointed out to Minister Dole - not to have honesty is to have no morals at all, as all other morals rely upon this most fundamental one! Both Mark James and leader Dole have indicated that they may take action against me at some point. I'm not aware of any case being brought against someone for simply exposing the truth. I'm sure they would like to silence my ongoing criticism of them both but they cannot - all the while I am still here. They both have a lot to answer for! As Mark James says he is not to blame/responsible for us losing our home, that suggests I am! I'd like that explained and have asked him several times to explain it - in detail. Not surprising he cannot.