THE DEPUTY leader of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Labour Group is the subject of a party investigation, after sharing a post from far-right extremist group Britain First on social media.
Welsh Labour confirmed this morning that after complaints regarding long-serving Dafen councillor Tegwen Devichand were brought to their attention, an investigation was underway.
The post, which has been seen by Herald reporters, shows images of electric chairs and a bed of the kind used in American prisons for administering lethal injections. It includes the phrase: “When a dog attacks a child it is put down. Shouldn’t we do the same with sex predators?”
Speaking to the BBC, Cllr Devichand said she did not remember sharing the post: “I couldn’t put a horse down, let alone a human being,” she added.
She also claimed that Labour had not contacted her about the matter and she had not been told the party was investigating, and added that she was complaining to the police about a ‘hate campaign’ against her.
This is the second investigation launched following claims of local Labour members sharing far-right posts on social media.
As The Herald reported this weekend, another member was suspended after sharing an English Defence League post on Facebook. However, Michaela Beddows told the local media that she was ‘naïve’ when it came to politics, and had not known who the EDL were.
Ms Beddows also contacted UKIP’s Senedd leader Neil Hamilton and invited him to a protest at Llangennech School on February 9. On social media she claimed to be ‘briefing’ the AM with the help of another Labour Party member.
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards, who led calls for a wider investigation into Labour members ‘using the politics of division in our communities’, said that the Llanelli Labour Party was ‘in crisis’.
In an open letter to Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, published in The Herald, Mr Edwards did not name any individuals, but expressed ‘grave concern’ at what was taking place in Llanelli constituency Labour party.
Mr Edwards said: “Not only have Labour activists been colluding with UKIP, over the course of the weekend we have seen Labour members and an elected councillor exposed for sharing the propaganda of ultra-right groups such as the English Defence League and Britain First. This is in addition to another elected councillor branding Labour’s own education policy as ‘apartheid’.
“How bad do things have to get, and how much more fascist material must Labour representatives share before the party’s Assembly Member, MP and the First Minister put a stop to it?
“There are undoubtedly many honourable Labour members who are as equally horrified as the rest of us that their party’s representatives are involved in such repulsive activities.
“The Llanelli Labour party has deep rooted issues and is clearly in crisis. Indeed if Llanelli Labour was a public service the First Minister would put it into special measures. In order to hold on to a shred of integrity, the party’s officials must enforce a zero tolerance policy and implement wholesale suspensions and deselections.
“As it stands, Labour’s campaign against Welsh-medium education appears to be a front for the perpetuation of ugly, fascist propaganda, with elected members using the politics of division in our communities.
“Launching an investigation into Llanelli Labour party is a welcome first step, but the party’s head office must take swift and immediate action to stamp this out this type of divisive campaigning.”
However, it is worth noting that both the investigations have been launched after Llanelli Labour made the national party aware of complaints.
The Herald spoke to Labour Group Leader Cllr Jeff Edmunds, who told us that he was unable to comment on this matter, because it was under investigation. However, he noted that the original post Cllr Devichand shared was dated from December.
Speaking personally, he raised concerns about the security of social media, explaining that someone had tried to gain access to his Facebook page a few weeks ago.
“I received an email saying my account had been compromised,” he added. “I immediately reported this to senior officers at Carmarthenshire County Council and have since reported it to the police.
Cllr Edmunds added that Labour councillors, himself included, had received emails from an individual purporting to be a Labour Party member, asking for statements on certain topics, which had then appeared on blog posts ‘within a matter of hours’.
“Unfortunately, some people responded to this person, believing them to be a Labour Party member,” he said. “This person was not who they said they were.
“It does appear from my perspective that we are being targeted.”
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7-year-old Mattie from Pembrey takes on home Pen y Fan-tastic challenge for Action for Children
Plucky Mattie Denman will climb the equivalent of Pen y Fan in the drive at her family home in Pembrey on Friday 22nd May to raise funds for Action for Children.
Mattie (7), has always wanted to climb the highest mountain in South Wales and is unable to currently because of the coronavirus pandemic. As the family exercise at home every day, she decided she wanted to do the 6-mile equivalent journey there while she waits for the chance to do it for real. Mattie chose Action for Children as her mother, Sian, works for the charity in Carmarthenshire.
Mattie said: ‘My Mammy works for Action for Children and I want to help as well because lots of families need help. My older brother and sister help Action for Children, so I asked Mammy if I could do something. We exercise everyday walking up and down the drive and I have always wanted to climb Pen y Fan, but we have never done it.
‘Mammy said I could pretend I am walking it and people will give money to the charity. I said brilliant, that is what I am going to do and I am super excited to do it. I will use mammy’s step counter and I hope I can help children that need support especially because it is so hard for some families because of coronavirus.’
Proud mum and family support practitioner for Action for Children, Sian, added: ‘Mattie has a lovely heart and really wanted to do something and I’m very proud she chose Pen y Fan as her home challenge. Action for Children has been going the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic continuing to support vulnerable families through phone and video sessions as well as food and help with the basics from our Emergency Appeal Fund.
‘It is a tremendously challenging time for our families and every bit of money will directly help those in our communities who need it most. I hope as many people as possible will donate to Mattie’s brilliant fundraising effort, it’ll make it even more special when we finally get to climb Pen y Fan for real.’
If you want to support Mattie’s Pen y Fan challenge please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattiesclimb
Housebuilder launches Coronavirus move in package
A South Wales housebuilder has launched new incentives which mean homes are ‘ready to move into’ during the Covid-19 crisis – without the need for tradespeople or delivery people.
People in Wales are allowed to move into new build houses during the lockdown – and many people have successfully done so.
However, the limitations of social distancing can add extra stress when it comes to having things like dishwashers, washing machines and turf installed in the new property.
That’s why Persimmon Homes West Wales has launched a new incentive package which gives purchasers the chance to buy a house with white goods and flooring already in place.
Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “Our sales advisors have done a terrific job in talking with customers and guiding them through the buying process remotely, without the need of face-to-face meetings.
“It’s been a huge challenge, but we’ve risen to it – and Persimmon has sold more than 120 properties in South Wales during the lockdown period. We have customers moving into their new homes every week.
“But, understandably, some people are cautious about having too many tradespeople and contractors enter their home, even if they are doing their utmost to abide by social distancing rules.
“That’s why we have launched these new packages which mean people can turn the key, unpack and get on with enjoying their new home.”
The package includes carpets and vinyl throughout, turf in the back garden, sliding wardrobes, integrated fridge freezer, integrated washer/dryer, integrated dishwasher and £500 discount towards removal fees.
The deal is on offer at Glas Y Felin in Bridgend, Parc Yr Onnen in Carmarthen, The Bridles in Llanelli, Peterson Park in Pontyclun, Parc Brynderi in Llanelli and Allt Y Celyn in Rhos.
Persimmon’s marketing suites in Wales remain closed for the time being. Visit www.persimmonhomes.com or call 01792 229800 for details of homes available.
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