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.”
Plans for Cross Hands Health Centre to go before Welsh Government
AN OUTLINE Business Case for the development of a Wellbeing Centre to be based in Cross Hands is to be resubmitted to Welsh Government, Hywel Dda University Health Board is pleased to announce.
The business case outlines our intention to develop an integrated health and social care network of services for the Amman Gwendraeth area and the construction of a Wellbeing Centre. If approved, the centre will provide a base for health and care services which will accommodate two local GP practices (Tumble and Penygroes), a library, family centre, community pharmacy and also community police support officers and voluntary sector groups.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we deliver some health and care services. Hywel Dda University Health Board has been working with partners and stakeholders to refresh the business case for the development to ensure that these continue to be fit for our population’s health and care needs both now and in the future. It is anticipated that the Business Case will be resubmitted to Welsh Government in Spring 2022.
Rhian Dawson, Integrated System Director for Hywel Dda University Health Board and Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “I am delighted that we are now able to refocus on the development of the Wellbeing Centre in Cross Hands. This will not only be an asset for Cross Hands but will benefit Carmarthenshire as a whole. While it is unfortunate that the pandemic has delayed our progress, it has also demonstrated the importance of delivering services as close to home as possible.”
It is anticipated that the Centre could potentially be complete in 36 months from the approval of the Outline Business case.
Boris Johnson apologises over latest No.10 party revelations saying it was ‘work event’
THE PRIME MINISTER says he thought party in March was a ‘work event’ but concedes he should have stopped the gathering on May 20, 2020.
In Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday (Jan 12), he apologised to the public and said that “I wish that things had been done differently on that night.”
But Boris Johnson said that Labour will have to wait for the outcome of an inquiry to know the exact details of what happened that night.
Labour Leader, Keir Starmer said Matt Hancock resigned when he broke the rules, and Allegra Stratton resigned for laughing about rule breaking. Why does the PM think the rules don’t apply to him. Boris Johnson says that is not what he said.
Starmer said the PM originally said he had been assured there were no parties. Then the video landed, and he pretended he was sickened by the parties. Now it turns out he was at the parties. Starmer added that it was his opinion that the public think he is “lying through his teeth”.
Tory MPs objected, on the grounds that MPs should not accuse each other of lying. Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker, defended Starmer, saying he is talking about what the public think.
Johnson said he does not accept that. He added a laywer should wait for the facts.
Keir Starmer said that he spoke last night to a woman, Hannah, whose father died last May. She met Johnson last year, and Johnson told her that he had done everything possible to protect her dad. Hannah now knows her father’s death certificate was signed on the day of the party. Does the PM understand how she feels?
Johnson said he understands how she feels. He wanted to apologise. But the government has been doing what it can to protect people. It has the most tested population in Europe. And it has had the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, and one of the fastest in the world. Apologising again, the PM said: “Whatever mistakes have been made on my watch, for which I apologise, that is the work that has been going on in Dowing Street.”
Simon Hart, the Welsh Secretary, and MP for South Pembrokeshire and West Carmarthenshire, has become the first cabinet minister to publicly express concerns about the latest partygate revelations. Simon Hart said this morning: “We’re in the middle of an investigation, that was set up by the PM to get to the bottom and to get to the truth about what was reasonable at the time and what wasn’t. It’s frustrating to have to rely on the investigation and we must be careful to not pre-judge that or what the PM will say in a few minutes’ time.
“The one thing I’m not going to do is make light of something that is unquestionably something of a significant public concern.
“I don’t live on a different planet. The frustration and the hurt and indignation and the incredulity that emerging stories like this produce. I’ve got, like everyone, family and friends asking me these questions. We have to get to the bottom of this.
“Judgment will need to be made about what happens next.”
There is some excellent detail about the No 10 party on 20 May 2020 in the Times today. The paper reports that Martin Reynolds, who sent out the email invitation to around 100 staff as the PM’s principal private secretary, became “panicky” in advance of the event, because staff were concerned it was against the rules, but decided cancelling the event would make things worse. The paper reports: “That afternoon, staff began preparations. A row of tables was set up on one side of the garden to act as a bar. In the garden itself more tables were set up in a layout to encourage people to observe social-distancing rules.
“Officials and advisers began arriving shortly after 6pm. While many stayed away, about 40 came. Many took up Reynolds’ suggestion in his email that they should “BYOB” — bring your own booze — taking a trip to the Tesco Express next to Westminster station. The drinks table was well stocked with gin, rosé, red wine and white wine, and guests began to arrive and mingle.
“Two sources said that the prime minister attended, with one saying he was “wandering round gladhanding people”. His fiancée Carrie Symonds, whom he married last year, also attended and was said to have been drinking with Henry Newman, then an adviser to Michael Gove and now a senior figure in No 10.
“The Times has been told that one senior official at the event joked about the risk of surveillance by drones, which was viewed as a tacit admission that the rules were being breached.”
Police in England issued 118,419 fines for breaking lockdown rules between 27 March 2020 and 17 October last year. That included 800 fines in the week when the No 10 party was held on 20 May 2020.
In London 17,745 fines were issued between March 2020 and October last year, including 113 for holding illegal gatherings of more than 30 people.
Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, said: “Thousands of Londoners have been fined for flouting lockdown rules during the pandemic. It would be double standards of the worst kind for the police to turn a blind eye when those in No 10 have done the same.”
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards, questioned the British Government on the floor of the House of Commons this week with regard to the ongoing allegations facing the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.
Allegations of a party held by government members and officials during May 2020 continue to plague the Conservative administration, with pressure mounting on the British Government over the past few days.
With an investigation into these claims commissioned, Jonathan Edwards MP questioned the government on what they believed would be an appropriate political sanction should the investigation conclude that a party was held and that the Prime Minister, or other Ministers attended.
The response came that it was not appropriate to comment on this hypothetical situation, and that they would await the results of the independent investigation.
Speaking outside the Chamber, Mr Edwards said: “I have been contacted my several constituents in the past few days outlining their shock, their disappointment, and their anger at the current allegations that this Government faces.
The stories they have shared with me of enormous personal sacrifice, of funerals held over video calls, and of elderly family members unable to see their loved ones in the flesh, have been emotionally powerful, and I thank them for sharing those experiences with me.
Should the allegations of Government Ministers attending a party at this very same period prove to be true, it will fly in the face of the collective struggle that everyday people have endured for almost 2 years now, and it will finally confirm what many of us here in Wales have already theorised: that the political ruling class in Westminster do not care about the citizens that they represent.”
Llanelli Police Station to temporarily close for improvement work
LLANELLI POLICE STATION will be closed from Monday, 10th January 2022 and will reopen on Monday, 31st January 2022 for work to improve the building to be undertaken safely.
During this time alternative arrangements will be in place for normal service to continue.
The front office staff will be working from Llwynhendy police station during this period to deal with public enquiries.
The Neighbourhood Policing Team will continue to work from a building alongside the police station and will be accessible as they are now.
Response officers will be continuing to work from the old police station to answer calls for service and will also be utilising Burry Port and Llwynhendy police stations.
The Public Service Point outside the police station will also remain working.
Police can also be contacted online at https://bit.ly/DPP101Online or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inspector Mark Davies said, “This level of investment in Llanelli police station clearly demonstrates our commitment to keeping a local policing base in the town and our desire to ensure our facilities are fit for operational use for the future.”
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