A Welsh politician who was expelled from Plaid Cymru in 2017 for bullying and harassing party members has taken on a child protection case.
Neil McEvoy made headlines in 2011 for accusing Welsh Women’s Aid of “publicly funded child abuse”, claiming the group helped women break court orders involving fathers’ access to children, in a series of tweets he sent out on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. McEvoy has so far not produced any evidence to justify the claim.
McEvoy apologised for his outburst shortly before he was suspended from the party saying:
“I apologise for any offence caused and accept I should have used less emotional language than the words I used.”
“I regret letting my emotional baggage of being a father who has experienced what, I believe, are the inadequacies of the family law system to guide my political actions.”
He added, “I particularly regret that the tweeting of comments – originally made 18 months ago – on this sensitive day have allowed the matter to become more about me than the issue itself.”
McEvoy also opposed the Welsh Government’s “Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill, which makes all forms of corporal punishment against children illegal. The politician’s tweet opposing the bill has since been deleted from Twitter.
Now McEvoy, who is running as an independent councillor for Cardiff West, has raised concerns about a child who may have been abused in a care home.
McEvoy, who does not have a background in child protection, tried to engage with the care home and the police, leading to contact between the child and their parents being stopped.
Complaints that the councillor had tried to “ambush” a therapy session involving the child, and had bullied staff responsible for the child were then raised.
McEvoy said that he had been invited to attend the meeting by the child and their parents.
Additional complaints suggested that the Assembly Member had been too ‘demanding’ in the way in which he had approached the care home, and had called the police to request a welfare check on the child.
McEvoy is now being investigated by the Standards & Ethics Committee at Cardiff Council, where he is a councillor, over breaches of the council’s code of conduct.
After the investigation was announced, McEvoy called out his council’s Committee in a series of Facebook posts, calling it “not fit for purpose”, and a Kangaroo Court.
Despite the red flags in this case, which include the social work staff stopping contact between the child and their parents apparently out of spite, and cancelling the therapy session because the father intended to record the meeting, which is allowed, these developments have now been overshadowed by McEvoy’s disciplinary hearing.
Many thanks to Nicky for alerting us to this case.
UPDATE 8 January, 2020: Neil McEvoy contacted this site after reading our post and asked us to amend the piece on the ground that it was factually incorrect.
Among the factual inaccuracies we understand McEvoy has pointed to, are the views that he does not have any child protection qualifications, that he was unable to provide evidence of the allegations he made against Welsh Women’s Aid and that he was expelled from Plaid Cymru for bullying and harassing members of the party during a meeting.
Mr McEvoy told this site in a message exchange that he has child protection training, that he has evidence of Welsh Women’s Aid encouraging women to breach court orders involving contact with non-violent and non-abusive fathers, and knew of other women’s groups who had done the same, and that he was expelled from the party for not preventing members from cheering for him as he entered a meeting.
We are giving Mr McEvoy the right of reply, which is the fair thing to do, and have asked him to provide the following evidence to allow us to review the piece and make any changes required:
- Evidence that Mr McEvoy has child protection training
- Evidence of the allegations he has made against Welsh Women’s Aid and other Women’s groups he claims are enabling mothers to breach court orders against innocent fathers
- A copy of his expulsion letter, in full
- An answer to our question in correspondence over why he chose to oppose the Welsh Bill banning corporal punishment of children
Mr McEvoy has confirmed that he will send this evidence and responses to our questions, tomorrow.
We have decided to remove our view about Mr McEvoy’s political agenda in this post as the above issues have become magnified in our correspondence with Neil and are far more important than our own views about his assistance in these cases.
Finally, for added transparency, we are including the links to all the content we accessed to write this article, which confirms the various facts we have included in the piece, as well as additional information about Mr McEvoy.