UK

Labour council chief is suspended after secret recording of him calling female politician a ‘cow’

Labour council chief is suspended after secret recording of him calling female Plaid Cymru politician a ‘cow’ appeared online

  • Rob Jones made comments during meeting he didn’t know was being recorded
  • Council leader has been suspended from while an investigation is carried out 
  • Mr Jones says clip was made without knowledge and consent and was edited

A Welsh council leader has been suspended after he was secretly recorded calling a female politician a ‘cow’.

Council leader Rob Jones made the ‘despicable’ comments during a meeting but did not know it was being recorded.

It has now come to light after the clip of the insult aimed at Plaid Cymru politician Bethan Sayed MS was shared online.

Rob Jones (pictured) made the ‘despicable’ comments during a meeting but did not know it was being recorded

In the audio, Mr Jones says: ‘Bethan Sayed, the cow that she is.’

Mr Jones, leader of Neath Port Talbot Council in South Wales, now claims it has been edited to produce ‘a damning commentary on me’.

He has been suspended from the party while an investigation is carried out.

The recording was made in 2019 at a private two-hour meeting of the Labour Party in the Pontardawe area.

Issues including schools reorganisation, selection of candidates to fight elections, political tactics and opposition party individuals were discussed.

Mr Jones says the clip was made without his knowledge and consent.

The clip was shared online. In the audio, Mr Jones says: "Bethan Sayed, the cow that she is." (Pictured: Plaid Cymru politician Bethan Sayed)

The clip was shared online. In the audio, Mr Jones says: ‘Bethan Sayed, the cow that she is.’ (Pictured: Plaid Cymru politician Bethan Sayed)

Ms Sayed, who is the MS for South Wales West, described the choice of words as 'despicable'

Ms Sayed, who is the MS for South Wales West, described the choice of words as ‘despicable’

He said: ‘The final recording has clearly been edited to produce a damning commentary on me.

‘The contents of the recording do not reflect the values I hold as an individual or those of the Labour Party, nor do they meet the standards of accountability required of a public representative.

‘During the conversation it can be heard that I made a derogatory remark about a serving MS.

‘I have written to that individual offering an unreserved apology for the statement that I made during this private meeting.’

Mr Jones has asked the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales to investigate the matter.

Ms Sayed, who is the MS for South Wales West, described the choice of words as ‘despicable.’

She said: ‘I find the choice of words on the recording, and the tone used by Councillor Rob Jones in his criticism of me, other councillors and community members, to be despicable.

‘Many comments made in this recording suggest worrying and deeply improper practices at the top of Neath Port Talbot Labour-run council, and I call for a full investigation into this issue, as a matter of urgency.’

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has called for First Minister Mark Drakeford to carry out a ‘swift investigation.’

Mr Price said: ‘If it is confirmed that the person making these comments is a senior office holder of your party then I expect you to demand their resignation with immediate effect.’

A Welsh Labour official said the party had ‘administratively suspended Cllr Rob Jones pending investigation.’

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