Plaid Cymru attacks County Council’s publicly funded electioneering

Plaid Cymru politicians Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM have joined their party’s Council group leader, Cllr. Peter Hughes-Griffiths, in attacking what he describe as ‘blatant electioneering at the hands of taxpayer-funded council staff’.

In an official press release from the Carmarthenshire County Council in which the Executive Board attempted to distance itself from the possible cuts to services already noted in local and national media, a representative of the Labour party attacked the Plaid Cymru councillor group for abstaining from voting on important budget matters.

The Plaid Cymru politicians said that not only are the Labour and Independent groups issuing completely false statements regarding votes, but has used Council staff, funded by Carmarthenshire rate payers, for its electioneering.

This is not the first time a civil servant of the County Council’s press team has been embroiled in party political matters.  In a leaked e-mail, the former head of the Press Office was exposed for actively encouraging members of the public to pressure Assembly Members to support a planning application on the former Stradey Park site in Llanelli.

The Leader of the Plaid Cymru Council Group, Peter Hughes Griffiths said:

“The actions of this Labour and Independent Council are unconstitutional.

“The Executive Board agreed to send its proposed budget out for consultation.  The authority has now issued an official press notice including comments from a Labour councillor who has absolutely nothing to do with the Executive Board, outlining to the people of Carmarthenshire where the Board has already decided not to make cuts, whilst at the same time trying to score party political points against Plaid Cymru.

“I have contacted the authority’s Chief Executive so that he can explain what exactly is going on in the authority; why budget announcements are being made by non-executive councillors; why announcements are being made during the consultation period and why the authority is carrying out political electioneering at the hands of taxpayer-funded council staff”.

Commenting jointly, Jonathan Edwards and Rhodri Glyn Thomas added:

“Democratic institutions only function properly when the civil service remains impartial.  Party political comments being issued in an official county council press release demonstrates beyond doubt that the Labour and Independent Council has politicised the authority’s civil servants.

“We’re confident that Carmarthenshire ratepayers, who are seeing inflation-busting price increases in a number of the Council’s services, do not want their hard-earned money being spent on these sort of cheap political press reports with absolutely no basis in fact.

“The County Council’s press office has previously been embroiled in party political matters having been exposed for helping to orchestrate a campaign against elected Welsh Assembly members.

“A full investigation must immediately be undertaken to ascertain which senior officer(s) authorised the Labour and Independent parties to carry out this sort of electioneering at public expense.

“The authority’s Chief Executive must ensure that the senior officer(s) responsible are held accountable for their actions.

“There are also serious questions about the suitability of elected politicians who hold elected office and use their position to politicize civil servants.   We would expect the heads of cabinet members and senior officials to fall over this issue.

“Once again the people of Carmarthenshire are given further notice of the need for a change of political direction at County level.  The people of Carmarthenshire deserve a County Council that operates in their interests.”


One Response to “Plaid Cymru attacks County Council’s publicly funded electioneering” [latest first]

  1. Could we also have an explanation as to who ordered the press release on the council website to be pulled after just a couple of hours?

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