It is always refreshing when politicians talk candidly and they don’t come much more candid than South Central Cardiff MS Neil McEvoy of the Propel Party.
Some may not like Mr McEvoy’s candid outbursts, demands for answers and refusals to do things just so but Mr McEvoy insists that the people he represents want just that. The Senedd has come in for criticism for its lack lustre debates during First Minister’s Questions with some old hats of politics describing serving politicians as A4 paper wielding robots politely maintaining the status quo. If anyone has taken the time to watch proceedings on Senedd TV there is no question that is not a bit as fruity as the exchanges at Westminster. Conversely the hullabaloo at Westminster during PMQ’s has been criticised for being childish and often offensive.
Mr McEvoy insists that there is a culture of cronyism, back scratching and corruption within the halls of power in Wales and that he has been ostracised for not turning a blind eye and for asking questions. He says that he feels isolated, racially victimised, harassed and bullied by people who he claims are hypocrites who rage so vehemently against the very treatment Mr McEvoy and he claims his staff have encountered at Cardiff Bay. He has he says documented all the incidents and asked for intervention to protect his own staff.
In the latest episode of McEvoy v the Senedd he claims that the Chief Constable of South Wales Police should be sacked for politicising the police force in attempts to negate his chances of re-election to the Senedd in May. Mr McEvoy places the blame for visits by the police to his home and subsequently to his office to serve him with a fixed penalty for breaching Covid restrictions firmly at the feet of the First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Outlining his reasoning for making such a claim during an interview yesterday, Tuesday, March 16th, Mr McEvoy said that despite other Senedd politicians allegedly breaking regulations in recent months, no police action was taken. He maintains that no law has been broken and that police are only acting upon the guidance of the First Minister’s restrictions, which he claims do not prevent him from carrying out his duties as an elected representative of his constituency. Mr McEvoy has been cautioned for leaving his home without a reasonable excuse during the Level 4 alert restrictions. Police visited his home and asked if he had been out delivering election leaflets. Mr McEvoy videoed the encounter. He responded to police by reading their own regulations for delivering leaflets, which were the regulations, which also applied to politicians as public servants he claims.
Police then visited Mr McEvoy’s office and served him with a demand for a fixed penalty but Mr McEvoy said that the police left on both occasions without providing him with any paperwork to retain. He can be heard in the video asking if police will investigate Mark Drakeford for being out without social distancing. He subsequently said that police had asked if he wanted to make an official complaint to which he replied: “No. He’s entitled to go about his daily business. My issue is that I am allowed to as well.”
Mr McEvoy says that he feels more at home in the cafes and clubs of Canton than at the Senedd. He said: “I am the norm in Canton but not in the Senedd. What we have to do is get more regular people, more working class people, more people from a variety of backgrounds elected to the Senedd.”
On the subject of claims of racism at the Senedd Mr McEvoy said: “I have dealt with racism my entire life, it’s just the way it is. You grow up with my background, my colour skin you get treated differently you have a different life experience.“
Neil McEvoy claims that the loss of our freedoms during the pandemic is a gradual step towards an authoritarian regime. The MS is confident that his party will win seats at the Senedd in May. #NotPoliticsAsUsual is Mr McEvoy’s mantra. His contract with the people of Wales, which we were given a glimpse of is not the usual we have come to expect of politicians either. It will appeal to libertarians or people who want a progressive government with radical changes in the way Wales is governed in a move away from Cardiff centric power. “The contract will be released soon” said Mr McEvoy.
Mr McEvoy is confident that the people in his constituency will return him to the Senedd where he admits to being seen as the ‘odd man out’. The polls predict Labour losses, which if realised would mean a coalition government most certainly between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru. Mr McEvoy is a fan of neither and says that he sees them as one and the same thing. If returned we can be sure of further fireworks but Mr McEvoy says he is looking to take a new broom and a spring clean of what he calls the ‘deadwood politicians’.
Welsh Government declined to comment on the claims.
South Wales Police made the following comment: “The political neutrality of the police service underpins our work and South Wales Police will consider all reports of breaches of Covid 19 legislation and will investigate and respond according to the legislation and guidance at that time.
“The same tests are applied regardless of who is involved. Up until recently the legislation and guidance was such that leaving home, without reasonable excuse, was not allowed as Wales was in Alert Level 4. Welsh Government Guidance further clarified that distributing election leaflets door-to-door was not a reasonable excuse to leave home and campaigning door-to-door is still prohibited.
“South Wales Police has strived to maintain a consistent policing style of engaging, explaining and encouraging people to follow the rules and enforcing as a last resort where necessary when repeated or blatant breaches occur. Minimising the spread of the virus remains important.”
You can listen to the audio interview here: