Senedd member Neil McEvoy told to apologise for chamber protest

Neil McEvoy

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Neil McEvoy says he stands by his words and actions

A Senedd member has been told he must apologise to the presiding officer for a protest in the chamber before he will be called to speak again.

Elin Jones has asked Neil McEvoy to withdraw “defamatory remarks” and delete social media posts made during a debate on racism on Tuesday evening.

He wore tape over his mouth and held a placard over her decision to reject his amendments to the debate’s motion.

He claimed her decision was “racism in action” and says he stands by this.

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Speaking at the start of proceedings on Wednesday afternoon, Ms Jones said many Senedd members had told her of their “frustration and disappointment at the manner in which one member’s conduct disrupted proceedings and brought our Senedd into disrepute”.

Mr McEvoy was allowed to speak during Tuesday’s debate but claimed his voice had been “taken away” and accused Ms Jones of denying him his “democratic right” by not allowing his amendments to be voted on.

“If you want my personal opinion, the opinion of many people, that is racism in action,” he said.

He added: “As it stands now, a brown man with a voice and an opinion is not welcome by too many people in this building.”

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On Tuesday Elin Jones questioned whether other parliaments would have allowed Mr McEvoy to speak

On Tuesday the presiding officer, explaining her decision, said she would be looking to “select or not select amendments” for the “proper conduct” of the hybrid proceedings the Welsh Parliament is currently using.

Members of the Senedd are joining in debates both in person in Cardiff Bay and through Zoom videoconferencing.

BBC Wales had been told that political groups in the Senedd have agreed to table fewer amendments to debate motions.

Mr McEvoy, who was elected through a Plaid Cymru list and has started his own party, does not sit with a political group.

In a letter to all Senedd members on Wednesday, Ms Jones denied Mr McEvoy’s claims saying: “The remarks made by the member were deeply offensive and defamatory, and unacceptable from any member.

“I have written to the member to request that he apologises to me personally and deletes the social media posts in question.

“Until I receive an apology and confirmation that he has taken the requested actions regarding the social media posts, the member will not be called to speak in proceedings.”

What does Neil McEvoy say?

Responding, Mr McEvoy claimed there was bias against him.

He said Elin Jones “should explain why she thought it was justified to remove all of the amendments submitted by a person of colour to a debate on racism”.

“I will make no apology to Elin Jones and I stand by my words and actions,” he said.

He added: “A blanket ban is just an extension of what has already been happening.”

BBC News

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