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Senior Labour councillor ‘under investigation’ by her own party

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Under investigation: Cllr Devichand

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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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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M4 closed westbound following lorry fire near Swansea

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A SECTION of the M4 near Swansea was shut on Monday (Aug 8) due to a vehicle fire.

The westbound section of the motorway, between junction 47 at Penllergaer and junction 48 at Hendy closed.

Emergency services were called to the scene, and there was queuing traffic in the area.

Traffic monitoring service Inrix reported: “M4 Westbound closed, queueing traffic due to vehicle fire between J47 A48 (Penllergaer / Swansea West Services) and J48 A4138 Pontardulais Road”

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Police appeal after Llanelli assault: victim required hospital treatment

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating an assault which occurred on Regalia Terrace, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire at about 12.05am, Sunday 3rd July.

The victim required hospital treatment.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the person in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the person is, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DP-20220703-011

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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