Europe's Dirty Thirty

A new report has been published today highlighting the thirty power stations in the EU with the highest CO2 emissions. Nine of these thirty are in the UK, including our own Aberthaw. The report itself, plus additional maps and graphics, can be downloaded from this page.

     

In terms of polution, burning coal is just about the worst possible way of generating electricity. Coal-fired power stations are the single biggest global source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 40% of global energy production, but fully 70% of global energy sector emissions.

Burning any fossil fuel to produce electricity is bad, but burning coal is much worse than burning gas for these reasons.

• First, burning gas typically emits about 400g CO2/kWh, but burning coal typically emits 780-990g CO2/kWh (see p41 of this document).

• Second, as well as CO2, burning coal also releases nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, dust and heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic into the atmosphere, which are major causes of acid rain and ground level ozone (smog), and are associated with a range of human health problems including asthma and cancer. Although the EU has gone some way towards limiting these other emissions, they are an inherent part of burning coal.

• Third, coal is not a particularly flexible way of generating electricity in response to changes in the pattern of demand at different times of the day. This makes it (and of course nuclear) unsuitable to use alongside renewables, most of which are intermittent.

For these three reasons, we must wean ourselves away from using coal to generate electricity, especially as we can easily produce more than all the electricity we consume in Wales from renewable sources. We must be looking to close coal-fired power stations such as Aberthaw, and we must make the decision to keep the coal reserves we have left in Wales in the ground. There is no reason at all for Wales to be among the dirty countries of Europe.

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How Plaid Cymru Works - 26

This is the twenty-sixth tranche of emails from the correspondence between various people in Plaid Cymru and myself, following a complaint about what I had written on the subject of the Ynys Môn by-election last year. For easy reference, I've put together the all the previous correspondence on this page.

From: Jocelyn Davies
Sent: Tuesday, 1 July 2014, 9:51pm
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards
Subject: Fwd: Second Appeal

Michael

I'm forwarding the email below from Rhuanedd, and thank you for email you sent me earlier this evening. I'll arrange for it to be circulated it to the other panel members.

Best wishes

Jocelyn

Begin forwarded message:

From: Rhuanedd Richards
Sent: Tuesday, 1 July 2014, 9:29am
To: Jocelyn Davies
Subject: Fw: Second Appeal

Dear Jocelyn

Would you be so kind as to send this on to Michael please. I sent a ‘read receipt’ with the email yesterday morning in light of the problems with the previous email but I haven’t received anything to confirm that it has been read. I am not aware of any current problems with our email system but Michael may want to check the way his computer is filtering emails in case they are going somewhere other than his inbox.

Thank you

Rhuanedd

 
From: Rhuanedd Richards
Sent: Monday, 30 June 2014, 9:22am
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Jocelyn Davies
Subject: Re: Second Appeal

Dear Michael

I’m grateful to Jocelyn for passing on the email that you did not receive and to you for confirming the grounds of the appeal.

The names of those who will serve on the Appeal Panel, as confirmed by the National Executive Committee, are Jocelyn Davies (Chair), Rebeca Lewis and Alun Ffred Jones.

Kind regards

Rhuanedd

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Wednesday, 2 July 2014, 10:43pm
To: Jocelyn Davies
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards, Leanne Wood, Nerys Evans
Subject: Re: Second Appeal

Dear Jocelyn

Thank you for forwarding a copy of Rhuanedd's email of 30 June. If you had read the chain of previous correspondence in my email to you yesterday (which was copied to Rhuanedd) you would have seen that I had received it. But I don't mind confirming it again.

Best regards

Michael

From: ---------- [member of staff at Ty Gwynfor]
Sent: Friday, 4 July 2014, 10:30am
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Jocelyn Davies
Subject: Decision of Appeal Panel

Message sent of behalf of Jocelyn Davies

Dear Michael

Please see attached the decision of the Appeal Panel, July 2nd 2014.

Kind regards

JD Notification of Decision of Appeal Panel, 020714

Appeal Panel 2rd July 2014

 
Decision on MH appeal against Judgement of the Hearing Panel formal hearing on 17th June 2014

 
The Background

A complaint was lodged by EJ in August 2013 following the Ynys Mon by-election. EJ claimed that comments by MH on his public blog during the campaign period undermined the integrity of the candidate resulting in negative attention for Plaid Cymru; MH’s comments were used against the Party by political opponents; and was the subject of a national newspaper article. EJ also claimed the blog content deliberately undermined not only the candidate but also national and local efforts on Ynys Mon and brought the Party into disrepute.

The complaint proceeded to a Panel Hearing following an investigation in December 2013. The Hearing Panel upheld EJ’s complaint and found MH in breach of the relevant Standing Orders. There followed an appeal by MH on procedural grounds and a reliance on factual inaccuracies.

The appeal was held in January 2014 and found in favour of MH in that there had been (i) a failure to inform him of the agreed timetable and (ii) potential factual inaccuracies may have been presented to the Hearing Panel. The Appeal Panel determined that the complaint should restart from the point prior to any possible problems occurring. The decision of the Hearing panel was rescinded.

A second Hearing Panel was set up in April 2014 and a second investigation was initiated. A formal hearing was held in June 2014 which upheld EJ’s complaint and additionally found MH in breach of Standing Orders in relation to behaviour towards the Hearing Panel and placing information about the disciplinary process in the public domain. The Hearing panel concluded MH’s membership of the Party should be suspended for two years and any future application for membership should be subject to scrutiny by the Membership, Disciplinary and Standards Panel.

 
The Appeal

This Panel was convened in order to deal with MH’s appeal against the decision of the Hearing Panel. Conflicts of interest and prior involvement had depleted the availability of any members of the MDSP. A member must have the right of appeal and so it was decided to invite myself, along with Alun Ffred Jones AM and Rebeca Lewis, who are both NEC members, to form an Appeal Panel. I was invited to Chair as I had served on the Assembly’s Standards Committee for a number of years.

MH appealed on the procedural unfairness grounds and on factual inaccuracies potentially influencing the decision. The Standing Orders on the Right to Appeal are explicit that an appeal will not be a re-hearing of the case but contain no details on how an Appeal Hearing shall be conducted. I decided to proceed utilizing, as far as reasonably practicable, the Assembly’s procedures in dealing with appeals which have been developed over time with the assistance of the independent Standards Commissioners. The broad thrust of it provided a useful guide. The Party may want to consider developing a Code of Procedures to assist future Hearing Panels and Appeal Panels.

A paper hearing was convened on 2nd July. We considered:-

The MH appeal bundle
EJ’s complaint
The Investigation Report
The Hearing Panel Judgement
Information placed in the public domain by MH

Bearing in mind that this hearing is not a re-opening of the case, we agreed we should consider whether or not the Hearing Panel addressed the question of whether MH brought, or potentially brought, the Party into disrepute by the comments EJ complained of; if they drew any conclusions from factual inaccuracies which, if they were known at the time, would have likely led to a different outcome; and if there were procedural irregularities that may have prejudiced a fair and impartial hearing.

Before considering these we noted the dismay and frustration of the Hearing Panel as evident in their Judgement that MH had placed a verbatim record of the correspondence sent to him by them into the public domain in direct contravention of Standing Orders. They decided that they would consider that action as an extension of the complaint they were considering. We concluded they were entitled to take into consideration MH’s behaviour towards them during the process in their deliberations.

We found the Hearing Panel did address the central question of whether MH brought or potentially brought the Party into disrepute. In fact they make a reference to “the core subject matter” and the evidence before them on specific comments made.

In assessing whether factual inaccuracies had been relied upon we considered the Investigator’s Report. It states that no response was received from MH in the course of it being compiled. MH disputes this, evidencing an email he sent to the Investigator. Evidence of sending is not evidence of receiving. However, the Investigator’s findings of fact relies entirely on blog posts that were within the public domain that MH posted. The Panel makes little reference to the Investigator’s Report other than they formally received it at the Hearing. They do not give significant weight, if any, to the reference that was written without response from MH. They make several references to the fact that they themselves had not received responses from MH despite their requests. We therefore concluded the outcome was not significantly influenced by the Report’s reference to MH not responding to the Investigator.

The Investigation Report concludes that, in the view of the Investigator, MH’s actions, i.e. the published blog posts, were damaging or potentially damaging to the public reputation of the Party. We felt this was not a matter for the Investigator as investigations should be confined to establishing facts rather than expressing opinion. We feel it is for the Hearing Panel to draw its own conclusions. However, the Judgement makes it clear that the Panel found evidence in the complaint; in the report; and in the public domain in addition to their own experience that led them to their own conclusion. We did not feel the Investigator’s opinion influenced the conclusions reached by the Hearing Panel. For the avoidance of doubt we suggest that future investigations are confined to establishing facts.

We considered if any procedural irregularities had occurred by reference to the Standing Orders. We found the Hearing Panel followed the procedure as laid down, to the letter. For example, the Investigator’s Report was not shared with MH prior to this appeal. Nor was it shared with EJ. The Standing Orders makes it clear that the formal hearing will “receive and examine the report from the Investigating Officer”. It appears from a strict reading of that Standing Order that there is no expectation of sharing the report findings beforehand and the Investigator’s report does not represent the case against those who are subject to any complaint. We therefore concluded that MH was not disadvantaged.

In contrast to that, the Standing Orders are silent on how Appeal Hearings are to be conducted and I had no hesitation in sending MH the Investigation Report. It is our view that had the Report been shared beforehand the accusation that the Investigator was not impartial might not have arisen at all as the Report is clearly even-handed and fair. We therefore recommend a re-visiting of the standing Orders to rectify this so that all parties have access to reports prior to any Hearing in the future.

The Hearing Panel took the precaution of also posting a copy of their electronic communications to MH and sending it via recorded delivery. Evidence of sending is not evidence of receiving. However, the Judgement makes the point that the electronic version appeared on MH’s public blog. We agree with the Hearing Panel this is proof MH received it. We concluded it was irrelevant that MH did not also receive, for some reason we do not know, the hard copy version and no unfairness resulted to MH from not having both versions.

 
Conclusion

This Appeal Panel found no procedural irregularities nor did we find that the Hearing Panel relied on any factual inaccuracies when they addressed the central question as to whether MH’s actions brought or potentially brought the Party into disrepute. We found the Hearing Panel’s conclusions were based on the facts before them. We therefore dismiss the Appeal.

In doing so we recommend that the Party revisit the Standing Orders in light of experience and produce a Code of Practice to assist in any future disciplinary proceedings and we would be pleased to assist in that if required.
 

Jocelyn Davies

3rd July 2014

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How Plaid Cymru Works - 25

This is the twenty-fifth tranche of emails from the correspondence between various people in Plaid Cymru and myself, following a complaint about what I had written on the subject of the Ynys Môn by-election last year. For easy reference, I've put together the all the previous correspondence on this page, which I will keep updating as further emails are published.

From: Jocelyn Davies
Sent: Saturday, 28 June 2014, 2:24pm
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards
Subject: Fwd: Appeal

Michael

Thank you for your email. I am disappointed that you've changed your view about a paper hearing. I do not agree with your reasons and I intend to proceed next Wednesday. I imagine you may be disappointed. So we are clear, this is not a re-run of the hearing that you are appealing against so this must not be confused with a review. The standing orders are very specific on that point although silent on how it should be done.

Appeals on fairness/factual accuracy are well established and it is also commonplace for them to be undertaken by people with no prior involvement and by way of a paper hearing. I'm therefore undertaking this appeal as best I can along the lines of normal good practice.

As this appeal is not a re-run of the complaint hearing we will be considering:-

Your documentation, including your appeal notice
The complaint
The investigation report
The report of the hearing
The information you have placed in the public domain
And possibly any further documentation you'd like us to consider specific to your appeal

You have all this information, except the investigation report. You were required to to be specific about what aspects of the hearing procedure were breached and which facts you are disputing when you registered your appeal. As you have yet to see the investigation report I accept you were not able to fully meet this requirement. I'm therefore sending it to you. It is very brief. If you dispute any of the facts in it or in the report of the hearing please let me know by Monday midday as originally timetabled.

Many thanks for your cooperation. I am copying this to Rhuanedd so she can circulate it to the other panel members as I don not have their personal email addresses.

Best wishes

Jocelyn

Complaint Report – Ian Titherington

Report of Investigation into Elin Jones’ Complaint of 02/08/13

(Syniadau Blog – Michael Haggett)

The following report has been written without a response from Michael Haggett (MH), despite written requests being sent to him by myself (a hard copy and by e-mail). As the Syniadau blog has been updated since the e-mail was sent, I am assuming that MH has received the documentation and chosen not to respond in this instance. With this in mind, I have also made the assumptions that MH is responsible for both the content of the Syniadau blog and the specific blog posts relating to this complaint. I have concentrated specifically of the blog posts published prior to the actual Ynys Mon by-election, including any comments as part of the posts.

In Elin Jones’s (EJ’s) complaint letter of 02/08/13, she accuses MH of ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ – ‘undermining the efforts of Plaid Cymru to win Ynys Mon’ – ‘the content of the blog undermined the integrity of the candidate’ – ‘the blog brought negative attention to Plaid’s campaign’.

MH’s consistent argument throughout his blogposts on this matter, was that Rhun ap Iorweth (RapI) was responsible for any damage being done to the party and not himself. He bases this primarily on his position on the development of Wylfa B, although his criticisms go beyond this. He also questions RapI‘s loyalty to the party, the selection process and his inexperience.

EJ’s complaint in terms of the party’s standing orders, relates to 3.1.iii which refers to: -

Engaging in “actions or statements damaging or potentially damaging the public reputation of the party”

This standing order must in my opinion be treated with caution, as it should not be used to stifle debate within the party either in relation to policy or actions of others. However, there are constitutional mechanisms within the party which allow members to both set policy, question actions and if necessary criticise individuals. Yet in this particular case, MH, does not appear to have taken this route.

I do not believe that it is the role of this report to speculate on RapI’s stance on nuclear power; the issue which has largely led to this complaint. During the by-election campaign in Ynys Mon, he along with the all the candidates was open to public scrutiny on this and Plaid’s political opponents were given every opportunity to challenge him. It could be argued that MH did not have the opportunity to raise his concerns internally due to the short timescale, so chose to do so through his blog posts. This would have some credibility, if there was evidence that he had contacted the party nationally or locally to raise concerns, but I have not been made aware of such communication.

Having read all of MH’s blog comments leading up to RapI’s selection and the subsequent campaign, there is a pattern of more and more antagonism towards RapI. Phrases such as ‘a stitch-up’ and ‘a political liability’ were used during the campaign by MH to describe the candidate, then the language became far harsher towards the election day when the candidate was labelled ‘a liar’.

Two statements are of particular significance for me, both published just before the election date:-

‘We do not need dishonest politicians like RapI

‘If RapI is elected, it would be a tragedy for Plaid Cymru, Ynys Mon and Wales’

Whatever context you care to refer to, these two statements alone are without doubt, damaging or potentially damaging to the public reputation of the candidate. During such a high profile by-election where the former party leader held the seat, such strongly worded attacks on the candidate are effectively attacks on the party, so the only conclusion I can come to is that MH has demonstrably engaged in statements that potentially damaged the public reputation of the party.

There is an argument that as Plaid Cymru were so successful in this election, that the blog posts referred to had little or no effect on the result, or the reputation of the candidate. However, this is not the issue, as Plaid’s political opponents not only used the statements to attack us, but will no doubt use these statements in future campaigns. Even if it could be argued that the statements were not damaging, they were most certainly potentially damaging.

 
Conclusions

I believe that MH has engaged in actions or statements damaging or potentially damaging to the public reputation of the party.

His published attacks on RapI leading up to the Ynys Mon by-election were personal, arguably libellous and most certainly detrimental to the Party. There is no evidence that MH made any effort to raise his concerns internally through the party structure and he has to my knowledge, not apologised to RapI or retracted any of the published blog posts I assume he is responsible for.

MH is clearly a very bright and eloquent political thinker who cares passionately about Wales, including all issues relating to nuclear power. However, as a member of Plaid Cymru, he has responsibilities as well as rights and in this particular case, I believe that he has been irresponsible in his blog posts, to the detriment of the party.

From: Rhuanedd Richards
Sent: Monday, 30 June 2014, 9:22am
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Jocelyn Davies
Subject: Re: Second Appeal

Dear Michael

I’m grateful to Jocelyn for passing on the email that you did not receive and to you for confirming the grounds of the appeal.

The names of those who will serve on the Appeal Panel, as confirmed by the National Executive Committee, are Jocelyn Davies (Chair), Rebeca Lewis and Alun Ffred Jones.

Kind regards

Rhuanedd

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Tuesday, 1 July 2014, 6:26pm
To: Jocelyn Davies
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards, Leanne Wood, Nerys Evans
Subject: Re: Second Appeal

Dear Jocelyn

Thank you for your email of 28 June. I suggest you read what I actually wrote more carefully. I have not "changed my mind". I said I would be happy for there to be a "paper hearing" if what you meant was that the process should be conduced entirely by email. When you said that you meant something different, namely that you thought it should involve only you viewing the documentation, I made it clear that this was unacceptable.

It is not just a case of you viewing documentation, but for all the parties involved to be able to view it, ask questions about anything that is unclear, and refute it if necessary. To give you an example of why prior disclosure of evidence is so necessary, I would ask you to look back at the evidence Shaughan gave at the first appeal. On the surface, the first Appeal Panel might well have concluded that I had received phone messages from him but not answered them; but when his evidence was disclosed to me, I was able to explain what had in fact happened.

As what I have shown so far reveals several very large irregularities in the way the procedure was conducted, I find it very hard to believe that the Appeal Panel would not seek evidence from the other parties involved to help clarify what happened, most notably from Elin, Rhun, Nerys, Ian and Eli. Indeed I think it would be remiss of you not to.

It would be quite bizarre for you to refuse to do this, especially because these were the procedures set out for the first appeal. For this reason I would again ask whether you are qualified to sit on the Appeal Panel. When did the NEC meet in order to ratify your (plural, including Rebeca and Alun Ffred) appointments to the MDSP? Have the three of you received the necessary training, and when did you receive it? People have the right to a consistency of approach, not for different people to go off in totally different directions.

-

Turning now to the matter of outstanding information, thank you for forwarding me a copy of Ian's investigation report. I will make some preliminary comments on it below. But I am still waiting the other information I requested, and because of this I am unable to produce a complete statment of evidence for the appeal. This is a reminder of the information I requested:

1. The dates of all meetings of the MDSP/Hearing Panel, subsequent to the information I was sent before as part of the first appeal.

2. The minutes or any other record of those meetings. These may be redacted to exclude items which do not relate to the subject matters referred to in Elin's complaint against me or my complaints against Elfyn, Bob, Dafydd and Rhun. If any meeting did not discuss these matters, a simple statement that it did not will suffice; however I require the dates of any such meetings because the fact that these matters were not discussed in them will be relevant in itself.

3. Copies of the correspondence, or the file notes of any conversations, of those acting in an official capacity (as either members of the MDSP/Hearing Panel/Appeal Panel, Investigating Officer, or any other officer of Plaid Cymru) which relate to these subject matters, subsequent to what I was sent before.

4. A copy of all the evidence, both written and oral, presented at the so-called hearing of 17 June, from all parties. In particular, this would include a copy of Ian's Investigation Report, which I know must exist but which I have not as yet received. It would also include any statement about the case I was expected to answer, which may or may not exist.

Taking items 1 and 2 together, this is important because when I made the same request for the first appeal, they showed discrepancies and malpractice on the part of the MDSP. It would also include the "report of the hearing", something you say I have been given but which I have not received.

Items 3 and 4 are important because there is always the possibility that correspondence or a document has gone astray, or that its existence was not revealed to me. As you can see, I have been scrupulous in making sure that every email I send includes with it the complete chain of previous correspondence, so as to leave nobody in any doubt about who said what and when they said it, or any excuse for not acting upon it. Those who have written to me have not always done this.

Having now received a copy of the investigation report, the next most pressing need is to get an answer to my question about the two packages that were sent by Royal Mail Signed For and Special Delivery Guaranteed but returned to sender. What was in these packages and when were they sent? I would remind you that in Eli's first email, dated 7 April, she had indicated that all correspondence would be by email, so it might well be that these packages only contained copies of her emails of 7 April, 13 May and 23 May, and that no attempt was made to send me a copy of the investigation report, details of the case I was expected to answer, or prior disclosure of evidence.

-

Turning now to Ian's Investigation Report, I would note the following.

1. Ian says the he wrote this report "without a response from Michael Haggett". I would refer you to my email to him dated 28 April.

2. Ian claims that what I wrote was based "primarily on [my] position on the development of Wylfa B". This entirely misses the point, I called Rhun a liar and said he was misleading the public not on the basis of what I believe, but because he was misrepresenting the position of Plaid Cymru. Our policy is one of total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power station in Wales, including Wylfa B, and it makes no distinction whatsoever between new sites and sites on or near existing or previous nuclear power stations.

3. Linked to this is the rather strange suggestion that I should have adopted "constitutional mechanisms". With regard to our party's policy on nuclear power, I have no need to do this because I am happy with the policy that has been adopted and confirmed overwhelmingly at previous conferences. It is for those who disagree with what we as a party have decided to make the case for change, and to bring a motion before conference to effect such a change. If a majority votes for it, then our policy on nuclear power will change; but unless or until that happens our policy is going to remain exactly what it is now.

4. Ian also suggests that any criticism of individuals should be done through "constitutional mechanisms". This is absurd. Rhun told a blatant lie in public, therefore I have every right to criticize him for this immediately and in public, so as to correct the misinformation he put out.

5. Ian says he does "not believe that it is the role of this report to speculate on RapI’s stance on nuclear power". I would agree that it is not his job to speculate; as investigating officer it is his job to ask direct questions about it, especially if he believes it is this which had largely led to Elin's complaint. Indeed I would go further and remind the Appeal Panel that the Investigating Officer is required to make enquires of all parties under clause 4.2 of Standing Orders. In addition to Ian not asking Rhun any questions, he did not ask Elin any questions either. This is a complete dereliction of his duty, and it completely invalidates his report.

6. Ian’s report point-blank refuses to address the main issue, namely whether or not what Rhun said about Plaid’s policy on nuclear was true or not. I provided irrefutable evidence to show that what he said was not true. Therefore there can be no possible objection to me calling Rhun a liar or saying that he misled the public by telling that lie.

7. It might also be worth repeating the point I made in my email of 27 June about needing to know exactly what the case against me was before being in a position to decide how to defend myself. It was clear from Eli's email of 20 June that the second Hearing Panel had considered matters which were not part of Elin's complaint, but having at last been given a copy of Ian's so-called investigation report, it is now clear that they were prompted to do so by opinions Ian had expressed on matters which seem to have very little connexion to what Elin had complained about.

-

Finally, on the matter of timetable, it is silly of you to ask or expect me to meet impossible deadlines. I have been away for the weekend, and have only today learned that you expected me to respond to Ian's report by yesterday. I had hoped you would see sense and delay the Appeal Hearing until all the outstanding information has been provided, but you seem determined to close your eyes and press ahead anyway.

I can't stop you pressing ahead, but if you do this without full information being available to enable me to properly prepare my appeal you will simply add more weight to the perception that there has been wrongdoing which Plaid Cymru is desperate to keep hidden.

For this reason, I am copying this email to Leanne as party leader and Nerys as Deputy Chair, so as to give them an opportunity to prevent your undue haste bringing the party into yet greater disrepute.

Best regards

Michael

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How Plaid Cymru Works - 24

This is the twenty-fourth tranche of emails from the correspondence between various people in Plaid Cymru and myself, following a complaint about what I had written on the subject of the Ynys Môn by-election last year. For easy reference, I've put together the all the previous correspondence on this page, which I will keep updating as further emails are published.

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Friday, 27 June 2014, 3:20pm
To: Rhuanedd Richards
Cc: Jocelyn Davies
Subject: Re: Second Appeal

Dear Rhuanedd

I did not receive your email of 25 June (16:06) but Jocelyn has been kind enough to forward me a copy of it.

-

I am reticent to remind you of the procedure set out in Standing Orders for conducting an appeal, not least because there was never any provision in Standing Orders for anyone to "re-start" disciplinary proceedings against me in the first place. I have pointed out on several occasions in the email correspondence below that those trying to pursue action against me have often ignored the rules that do exist and then made up new rules out of thin air to suit themselves. I would only note that Eli had claimed in her email of 7 April that the new hearing panel would act as if the first disciplinary process had not taken place; therefore, even by that yardstick, this second appeal would need to follow the same course as was established for the first.

It would therefore be necessary for the appeal to be heard by members of the MDSP who have not previously been involved. So far as I am aware, Jocelyn is not on the MDSP, and I note that you do not mention who appointed her or her as yet unnamed colleagues. As the previous correspondence with Nerys shows, it took some time to appoint new members to the MDSP to form the second Hearing Panel and for their appointment to be ratified by the NEC. I would be very surprised if Jocelyn and the others can have been appointed and ratified so quickly. I suspect people are simply trying to hurry things through with even less pretence at doing things according to Standing Orders than before. I would therefore advise all concerned to take a step back, and think very hard about they do next in order not to repeat or exacerbate the previous failures in the way this whole process has been conducted. Please take things step-by-step, and don’t rush straight to the end without properly completing each of the earlier stages.

-

For my part, I would confirm the grounds for this appeal, as required by Clause 6.3 of Standing Orders. As you noted, they are:

6.3i That the procedure adopted by the Hearing Panel was flawed and therefore unjust.
6.3ii That the verdict and conclusions of the Hearing Panel demonstrate that they are based on factual inaccuracies.

Under Clause 6.4 it is incumbent upon me to be specific about about what aspects of procedure were breached and which facts are disputed. I am unable to do this fully because, despite my requests, I have not yet received several pieces of vital information. I will therefore outline only the broad headings at this stage, with the intention of producing a full written statement of evidence when this information has been received, in the same way as was established for the first appeal.

In respect of the procedure being flawed:

1. No-one has been able to set out any constitution grounds for "re-starting" disciplinary action against me. This was confirmed by Dafydd Trystan when he said in his email of 4 February that these were "uncharted constitutional waters".

2. Even if the procedure could be restarted, Ian Titherington would be totally unsuitable as Investigating Officer. To choose someone who had so obviously pre-judged the issue shows bias and lack of even-handedness on the part of the Hearing Panel.

3. Any investigation would need to be conducted with due diligence. Instead, Ian only asked me a few nominal questions for the sake of appearance, but then proceeded to ignore everything I said. Some of the questions I was asked were so vague that they could not be answered. I asked for clarification, but received no response. I also raised several questions that would need to be answered by other parties, but again received no response.

4. Eli said in her letter that Ian's Investigation Report contained evidence that was used to find me guilty. Every defendant has the right to know what evidence is being presented against them, and must be given a chance to refute it and ask questions about it. Despite my request, I did not receive a copy of that report, and have still not received one.

5. If a Hearing Panel were to decide there was a case for me to answer, I would need to be given precise details of what it was. This was not done. Even from the limited information available at present, it is clear that Ian's investigation chose to address only some aspects of Elin's complaint, but that it also addressed matters that were not part of her complaint. Additionally, it is clear from the Hearing Panel's decision that they considered matters which were neither part of Elin's complaint nor part of the questions I was asked during the investigation.

6. Any evidence being presented at a hearing would need to be disclosed to me beforehand so as not to take me by surprise and give me an opportunity to prepare a response to it. This was not done.

7. Arrangements would need to be set in place for cross-examination of anyone wishing to present evidence against me. It is absolutely vital that a defendant is given the opportunity to ask questions about the allegations and any evidence presented in support of them. I had asked some of the more obvious questions as part of the investigation but, as noted in point 3 above, because I do not have the report I do not know what the answers were, or whether those (or similar) questions were even asked.

8. It was wrong to punish me for an alleged breach of Clause 9.1 of Standing Orders without giving me any prior notice that this was a subject matter under consideration, and without giving me any opportunity to respond.

In respect of factual inaccuracies, these all stem from the decision of the Hearing Panel as conveyed to me in Eli's email of 20 June:

1. It was claimed that I had chosen not to acknowledge or respond to Eli's correspondence. This is untrue.

2. It was claimed that copies of the correspondence (which, crucially, might or might not include the investigation report, details of the case I was expected to answer, and prior disclosure of evidence) had been delivered by "recorded delivery". The Royal Mail tracking details I have now been given (one Royal Mail Signed For and one Special Delivery Guaranteed) prove beyond doubt that they were not delivered.

3. It was claimed that I had made no submission to the Hearing Panel, however I had informed Ian (as the Investigating Officer they had chosen to appoint) of everything I had said previously with the intention of him using this evidence in the investigation. I also engaged in the investigation process by asking for answers to a number of specific questions.

4. It was claimed that I have breached Clause 9.1 of Standing Orders. I have not. The restriction on making public statements only applies "until after the conclusion of any appeal". An appeal took place on 28 January so, since that date, the restriction no longer applies. In publishing details of the disciplinary procedure on Syniadau in the series How Plaid Cymru Works I have been careful to act in accordance with what this clause actually says, not what others might wish it said.

5. Finally, and most importantly, it was claimed that I had called Rhun a liar and a dishonest politician "without any evidence to support such serious allegations". I presented clear evidence to show beyond any doubt that Rhun was lying / being dishonest – in the posts on Syniadau at the time, on numerous other occasions on Syniadau, in the email correspondence below, and in the package of evidence to which I referred Ian. I would also note that the first investigation revealed that Rhun was dishonest in two other respects, detailed with full evidence here and here.

Conversely, I also asked others—including Rhun, Elin and Leanne—to provide any evidence that might show that what Rhun said on Sunday Supplement about our policy on nuclear was true. No-one has provided any such evidence.

In closing, I would repeat that this is an outline for the purposes of complying with Clause 6.4, as this information needs to lodged with you as Chief Executive by today. I will only be able to provide a full written statement of evidence for consideration at the Appeal Hearing when the outstanding information has been received, although I note that you wish me to ask Jocelyn rather than you to provide it. That’s not a problem. As with the first appeal, I don't care who provides it, as long as I get it.

Best regards

Michael

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Friday, 27 June 2014, 4:32pm
To: Jocelyn Davies
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards
Subject: Re: Second Appeal

Dear Jocelyn

Thank you for fowarding Rhuanedd's email to me. I have replied to her, see below, as there are several matters that need to be addressed to her as Chief Executive. I would in particular ask you to note that there is a question mark over your appointment because I believe you are not a member of the MDSP, and if you and the others were to be co-opted this would need to be ratified by the NEC in the same way as happened with the three new members who formed the second Hearing Panel.

That doesn't mean I object to you becoming Chair of the second Appeal Panel, only that people seem to be rushing things through with even less pretence at doing things according to Standing Orders than before. As I said to Rhuanedd, I would advise everyone concerned to take a step back and make sure things are done properly. It has taken the best part of a year so far because of all the previous mistakes; a week or two more won't make any difference.

For this reason, and because so much information is still outstanding, my answer to your proposal of holding the appeal hearing next Wednesday remains a polite but firm No. I must insist on a proper procedure conducted to the same standard as was established for the first appeal, which you can read about in the email chain below. It is pointless to re-invent any wheels. It is not just a matter of you "viewing documentation" and, as it is now clear that this is what you meant by a "paper hearing", what you propose is definitely not acceptable.

-

The most pressing need at the moment is to provide me with the outstanding information necessary for me to prepare my appeal. As I said to Rhuanedd, I don't really mind who sends this to me. Sort it out amongst yourselves, but be sure you do sort it out and keep me informed of what is happening.

The information I require is the same as it was for the first appeal:

1. The dates of all meetings of the MDSP/Hearing Panel, subsequent to the information I was sent before as part of the first appeal.

2. The minutes or any other record of those meetings. These may be redacted to exclude items which do not relate to the subject matters referred to in Elin's complaint against me or my complaints against Elfyn, Bob, Dafydd and Rhun. If any meeting did not discuss these matters, a simple statement that it did not will suffice; however I require the dates of any such meetings because the fact that these matters were not discussed in them will be relevant in itself.

3. Copies of the correspondence, or the file notes of any conversations, of those acting in an official capacity (as either members of the MDSP/Hearing Panel/Appeal Panel, Investigating Officer, or any other officer of Plaid Cymru) which relate to these subject matters, subsequent to what I was sent before.

4. A copy of all the evidence, both written and oral, presented at the so-called hearing of 17 June, from all parties. In particular, this would include a copy of Ian's Investigation Report, which I know must exist but which I have not as yet received. It would also include any statement about the case I was expected to answer, which may or may not exist.

Please arrange to have this information emailed to me as soon as possible.

Assuming that you will in due course be ratified as a member of the MDSP by the NEC and then become Chair of the Appeal Panel you will need to decide, as Alun did when he chaired the first appeal, who (beside myself) you will invite to submit evidence. All evidence will then need to be disclosed to other parties so that matters can be accepted as either undisputed, or disputed, or for questions to be asked about it. As I said before, I am happy for this to be done entirely by email.

As for the timetable, it goes without saying that I will not be able to provide a statement of written evidence similar to the one I produced for the first appeal until I have received the outstanding information. Once it is received, I imagine that it will take about a week to prepare the initial statement of evidence, but that it might then need to be revised in the light of other disclosed evidence. Only after that can the hearing be held.

Best regards

Michael

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How Plaid Cymru Works - 23

This is the twenty-third tranche of emails from the correspondence between various people in Plaid Cymru and myself, following a complaint about what I had written on the subject of the Ynys Môn by-election last year. For easy reference, I've put together the all the previous correspondence on this page, which I will keep updating as further emails are published.

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Tuesday, 24 June 2014, 1:20pm
To: Rhuanedd Richards
Subject: Re: Complaints by Elin Jones and Michael Haggett

Dear Rhuanedd

I received an email from Eli Jones on 20 June, informing me of the decision of the new Hearing Panel set up as a result of "re-starting" disciplinary proceedings against me in relation to Elin's complaint last year. I wish to register an appeal with you as Chief Executive on the same grounds as I did after the decision of the original Hearing Panel; but before I can give fuller details, I would like your help in clarifying the following matters.

In her email, Eli says that:

The Panel received no response from Mr Haggett, despite having taken the precaution of ensuring a copy of our correspondence had reached its destination as it was sent by recorded delivery.

This is a mystery to me. Please could you find out when it was sent and provide me with a tracking number that might help determine what happened to it.

The second matter might be related. I have have not received a copy of Ian Titherington's report, nor the exact details of the case I was expected to answer, nor any prior disclosure of the evidence that would be presented against me. It may well be that these were included in the package that has gone astray, but I have no way of knowing this.

However, irrespective of exactly what was in the package and where it might have gone, I would like you to email me a copy of Ian's report and any other documentation which might have been included with it.

By doing these things you will clear up some of the question marks that currently exist, which will mean that the appeal can be based on hard information rather than "perhaps this / perhaps that" uncertainty.

Best regards

Michael

From: Jocelyn Davies
Sent: Wednesday, 25 June 2014, 9:16pm
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards
Subject: Re: Appeal

Dear Mr Haggett

As you'll be aware I have been asked by the Chief Executive to chair a panel to deal with your lodged appeal. It is our intention to conduct a hearing next Wednesday evening at 7pm at Ty Gwynfor. My preference would be to hold a paper hearing. I'd be grateful if you'd let me know by 5pm on Friday if this is acceptable.

Anything you wish the panel to consider will need to be with me by midday on Monday.

I'm copying this email to the Chief Executive so that it can circulated to the other panel members.

Best wishes

Jocelyn Davies

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Thursday, 26 June 2014, 12:27pm
To: Jocelyn Davies
To: Rhuanedd Richards
Subject: Re: Second Appeal

Dear Jocelyn

Thank you for your email of 25 June.

You start by saying "as you'll be aware", but this is not the case. Your email is in fact the first response I have received to my email to Rhuanedd. I would guess she is preparing a reply, but I have not received it yet. She might well be waiting for information from others before sending it.

The information I requested from her is needed to clarify matters in order for me to properly set out the grounds for my appeal. But I would also need other information, as was the case in the first appeal I made. I think it would be a good idea for you to read through the chain of correspondence below to make yourself familiar with what happened. Alun and Rhuanedd acted in a helpful and constructive way to establish a set of ground rules for the first appeal. The problems only arose by failing to stick to them, most notably in the handling of Chris Frank's evidence, which was neither disclosed beforehand nor recorded.

I'm not entirely sure what a "paper hearing" is, but if you mean that everything should be conducted in writing rather than needing a face-to-face hearing, I would not object in principle. In fact I would welcome it.

Because of the outstanding information, it is premature to be thinking of holding a hearing on the date you suggest. It would be better to wait until all parties have the information they need before setting a timetable.

Best regards

Michael

From: Jocelyn Davies
Sent: Wednesday, 26 June 2014, 5:58pm
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards
Subject: Re: Appeal

Dear Michael

Thank you for your email and I'm grateful that you're happy for the appeal to be conducted by way for a paper hearing, that is, by us viewing documentation.

I'm sorry if I was mistaken when I assumed that Rhuanedd Richards had informed you that an appeal panel had been set up and I would be chairing it. I based that on being copied in on an email she sent to you. I had that at 16.06 yesterday.

We intend to hold the hearing next Wednesday evening based on your lodged appeal. Obviously the appeal will not be a re-run of the hearing but addressing the grounds of your appeal only. From memory, that is procedural unfairness to you and the panel basing their decision on factual inaccuracies. I'd very much like to stick to the original timetable. If you meet the Monday deadline it would be very helpful.

As an appeal panel we can't be entering into dialogue about the substance of the complaint or your response to it.

I hope that helps

Jocelyn

From: Jocelyn Davies
Sent: Wednesday, 26 June 2014, 6:49pm
To: Michael Haggett
Subject: Fwd: Complaints by Elin Jones and Michael Haggett

Here is the email I had yesterday.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Rhuanedd Richards
Sent: Wednesday, 25 June 2014, 4:06pm
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Jocelyn Davies
Subject: Re: Complaints by Elin Jones and Michael Haggett

Dear Michael

Thank you for your email outlining your wish to register an appeal against the decision of the Hearing Panel.

You say in your previous email that you wish to do so on the same grounds as the appeal you made after the decision of the original Hearing Panel and therefore they will be noted as:

6.3i That the procedure adopted by the Hearing Panel was flawed and therefore unjust.
6.3ii That the verdict and conclusions of the Hearing Panel demonstrate that they are based on factual inaccuracies.

I can provide you with two tracking numbers for items of correspondence sent to you: BZ144209325GB and AD792767722GB

An Appeal Panel has been appointed and will be chaired by Jocelyn Davies who will contact you shortly. Any requests for further information should be made through Jocelyn.

Kind regards

Rhuanedd

Entering these tracking numbers on the Royal Mail website, I found that even though Eli had said in her email of 20 June that she had "taken the precaution of ensuring a copy of our correspondence had reached its destination as it was sent by recorded delivery", this was in fact a complete lie.

I can prove beyond doubt that neither package was in fact delivered to me. If anyone wants to check this for themselves, please click the links below and you will see that both were returned to sender.

     Royal Mail Signed For – BZ144209325GB
     Special Delivery Guaranteed – AD792767722GB

Who on earth was Eli trying to fool, and what on earth made her think she could get away with such deception? The clear fact is that she and her colleagues went ahead with the hearing knowing that I had not received these packages. They must have known this at two stages: first, because it is silly to pay for a service which tracks delivery but not then use it to check whether and when the packages were in fact delivered; and second, when the packages were returned undelivered. It is exactly the same sort of behaviour as her trying to claim that there was no evidence that Rhun had lied, even though I had provided links to the evidence in my original post.

It is clear that their whole mentality is one of stopping at nothing to try and convict me of bringing Plaid Cymru into disrepute for telling the truth, not realizing that is it lies and deception like this which bring the party into disrepute.

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The proof that Rhun lied ... again and again

Yesterday, I published an email from Eli Jones advising me of the verdict of the second Hearing Panel. There are many things that could be said about it, but because whether Rhun did or did not lie is the central issue in this matter, I'd like to concentrate on that first. This is the relevant paragraph:

What the Panel found was evidence of a distressingly vicious and personalised escalating attack on one of its members. The Panel was appalled by the degree of vitriol and unsubstantiated allegations targeted at the candidate. Criticism of our candidate’s views on any topic is unhelpful in the context of a by-election, but Mr Haggett went far beyond acceptable comment by referring to him, inter alia, as a “liar” and a “dishonest politician” without any evidence to support such serious allegations. The Panel would consider the making of such scurrilous allegations against a member of another Party as inappropriate and unacceptable, but to make them against a member of one’s own party is beyond belief.

If anyone needed proof that the whole disciplinary process against me has been a farce from the beginning, this one paragraph should convince them. Eli was clearly trying to make out that there was no evidence to support what I said about Rhun misleading people over Plaid Cymru's policy on new nuclear power stations by blatantly lying about it ... specifically saying that these allegations were "unsubstantiated", "serious" and "scurrilous".

Of course I won't deny that they are serious allegations, but they are definitely not unsubstantiated or scurrilous. I provided evidence to back up what I said at the time, and I'm happy to repeat it now by republishing the posts concerned.

-

There is no doubt whatsoever about what Rhun said on Sunday Supplement. I provided a link to a recording of the programme which anyone can listen to, as well as a transcript of the exchange between Rhun and Vaughan Roderick. There is no doubt whatsoever about what Plaid Cymru's policy is. I provided a link to the motion endorsed by Plaid's Conference which anyone can read. Putting the two together, we can all see and hear for ourselves that Rhun was definitely not telling the truth.

What I find "beyond belief" is what might motivate people like Eli Jones, Peter Fenner and Sian Powell to put their names to something which they must know to be totally false. Their eyes are shut tight, their fingers are in their ears, but their mouths are working nineteen to the dozen to spread misinformation that cannot fool anyone who takes the trouble to check the facts for themselves. No wonder their reaction to me publishing every single word of what they are are doing is one of, to use their own words, abject horror.
 

 
Rhun ap Iorwerth is lying about Wylfa B

Originally posted on 28 July 2013

 
Today's Sunday Supplement was largely devoted to the Ynys Môn by-election on Thursday. The full debate can be heard below or downloaded here but, as readers would expect, I want to focus on what was said about Wylfa B, and in particular this exchange between Vaughan Roderick and Rhun ap Iorwerth:

VR:  But, to be clear, Plaid Cymru want decisions over power stations to be devolved. If Wylfa B was on the table in the Assembly, and you had to vote yes or no, which way would you vote?

RhapI:  I am being quite clear, and I can't make it any clearer: I am saying yes to Wylfa B.

VR:  But your party doesn't say that.

RhapI:  Plaid Cymru is a party, unlike many of the other parties, that actually discusses decisions and decides what's best for Wales. You know that there's been a policy in Plaid Cymru going back 40 years where we've said, "Develop nuclear power stations on the sites where there are nuclear power stations in the past." It's nothing new for a member of Plaid Cymru, and somebody who wants to be an elected member for Plaid Cymru, to say let's support the continuation of nuclear power generation on the site where that has been happening for decades.

VR:  I'm sorry, that does sound an awful lot like having your cake in Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Ynys Môn and eating it elsewhere.

     

If Rhun wants clarity, then we need to be absolutely clear that he is misleading people on this issue by telling blatant lies.

Plaid Cymru does discuss issues and makes policy decisions that we believe are in the best interests of Wales (although it is a bit naïve for Rhun to think that most other parties don't make decisions in a similar way), and while it might or might not be true to say that Plaid used to have a policy of developing nuclear power stations on existing sites at some time in the past, it has most definitely not been Plaid Cymru's policy for some years. The decision made at conference is that Plaid Cymru are totally opposed to the construction of any nuclear power station in Wales, including a new nuclear power station at Wylfa B [click to display] and Rhun is deliberately misleading people by pretending otherwise.

Although it is nothing new for a member of Plaid Cymru to support the continuation of nuclear power, those members are definitely in a minority within the party. However it is of much more concern to me that Rhun did not make his position on nuclear power clear to party members at the hustings when he was selected as Plaid's candidate. The position he presented at that time was "more or less identical" to that of Ann Griffith and Heledd Fychan, and Heledd made it clear that she was opposed to nuclear power. Nor did he make his support for Wylfa B clear in the statements he made immediately after he had been selected; instead he hid his position behind tortuously ambiguous words both in his interview with the Daily Post and on his own blog. I've commented on what he said here and here.

His support for Wylfa B (as opposed to support for maximizing local employment opportunities if Wylfa B were to be built, which is entirely different) only came out in a careless tweet last week. It should therefore be obvious to anyone that Rhun deliberately misled Plaid members in Môn in order to be selected.

     

We do not need dishonest politicians like Rhun ap Iorwerth. If he's elected on Thursday he will be a liability to Plaid Cymru for years to come, because he clearly isn't interested in Plaid's policies for Wales. He is a cuckoo who has duped his way into our nest in order to follow a private agenda of his own, or the agenda of a narrow interest group within the party that refuses to accept democratic decisions made by the membership as a whole.

The only person who sounded convincing on the issue of nuclear power was Kathrine Jones of the Socialist Labour Party. Her position was far closer to that of Plaid Cymru than Rhun's.
 

 
This is why I called Rhun a liar and said we do not need dishonest politicians like him in Plaid Cymru, and the evidence I provided proves beyond any doubt that he did lie. However, as a result of the first official investigation conducted by Shaughan Feakes, it became clear that this was not the only lie Rhun had told.

One of the other lies he told was in fact far, far worse. As can be seen from the post below, Rhun is two-faced, for he was telling different sets of people completely different things about his views on nuclear power. He was told the public that he was pro-nuclear power, but told people within the party that he was against nuclear power. This is what I posted in February.
 

 
Rhun says he's AGAINST nuclear energy

Originally posted on 19 February 2014

 
In my last post I published the package of information that had been sent to me after I had asked Leanne to intervene because Chris Franks was not doing his job properly. Prior to that, Chris had fully expected me to turn up to a formal hearing without knowing any details about the complaint, who would judge me, what the evidence against me was ... or what the official investigation report which formed the basis of the decision to hold a formal hearing, and was supposed to reflect my position as well as that of my accuser, said. I had now got some answers, though not all of them.

By far the most important piece of information was the investigation report, and in these next posts I want to look at what it contains. One thing in it stands out above everything else.

I have spoken to Rhun and he has confirmed that he is against nuclear energy but if it is imposed by Westminster he will ensure that Ynys Môn gets the maximum benefit of the job and economic opportunities.

If anyone had to sum up Plaid's policy on nuclear energy in one sentence, that's as good a way of putting it as any. It is in two parts, and each part is essential. The first part is that we in Plaid Cymru are opposed to nuclear energy. The second part is that we will fight to get the best from Wylfa B if it is imposed on us by Westminster. The if is all-important.

-

In the early stages of the Ynys Môn by-election campaign, Rhun was quite happy to stress the second part, but did not say anything at all about the first part. He refused to be clear about whether he supported or was against a new nuclear power station at Wylfa. I described his position at the time as "tortuously ambiguous" in this post, and went on to say:

Up until now I have not known where Rhun stood on this issue. My objection to him being allowed to stand or being selected was based on the fact that we could not properly assess his suitability to stand as a Plaid Cymru candidate in such a short time. I had hoped that his first statement would be something much more positive:

I had hoped Rhun would say that he is totally opposed to Wylfa B and will fight to stop it happening.

I had hoped Rhun would say that it is being forced on us by a Westminster government that will not let Wales decide our own energy policy for ourselves.

I had hoped Rhun would say that we in Wales can produce more electricity than we consume from renewable sources, a major part of which are around the coast of Ynys Môn, and that we will create better jobs on the island by developing these than by building a new nuclear power station.

I had hoped Rhun would say to those already working in the nuclear industry who are concerned about their jobs that there will be plenty jobs for decades to come in decommissioning Wylfa A, making it safe and cleaning up its toxic legacy.

I had hoped Rhun would say that the cost of dealing with new and very much more toxic nuclear waste—which would have to be kept on the island indefinitely rather than moved to Sellafield as happens now—will be a millstone round the neck of future generations that Wales as a nation will struggle to afford.

... and I had hoped Rhun would also say that if, and only if, a Westminster government forces Wylfa B onto us despite all our objections, it had damn well better ensure that we at least get something out of it in terms of construction jobs, supply chain opportunities and the skills necessary for the operation of the station once completed.

If he has any political sense at all, Rhun will say all of these things. It is not too late for him to do so. What is wrong with Rhun's statement to the Daily Post is that he makes the last point without making all the other points. He cannot hope to get away with that. He needs to unequivocally express his opposition to nuclear power before he gets to the "if".

Fair play to him, as I noted in my next post, Rhun did then go on to make some of these points, in particular about the problem of nuclear waste and energy policy being decided in Westminster rather than in Wales, but he still wouldn't say whether he was or was not opposed to nuclear energy.

Because of this ambiguity, he was put under ever-increasing pressure about it from all sides, and he eventually snapped. On 19 July, well over half-way through the campaign, he tweeted this:

As I noted at the time, if Rhun was a person of principle or character, why had he been afraid to make it clear that he supported Wylfa B in his previous statements to the Daily Post and on his own blog? But whatever the reason, the cat was now out of the bag, and in the last ten days of the campaign Rhun made it abundantly clear that he was in favour of nuclear energy at Wylfa B, openly acknowledging that he did not agree with Plaid Cymru's policy. So far as I am aware, that has been his position in public ever since.

-

What is completely scandalous is that Rhun said one thing in public, but then—only six weeks after he had been elected—said the exact opposite when formally questioned about it as part of an official Plaid Cymru investigation.

This shows Rhun for what he is: a man without principles who will flip-flop on the issues. He will say one thing to one set of people at one time because he thinks it's what they want to hear, and then say completely the opposite thing to a different set of people at another time. This is two-faced hypocrisy of the very worst sort and there should be no place for such behaviour in politics.

-

It's not down to me to decide which is the truth and which is the lie. All I can say with certainty is that one of them must be a lie. Perhaps what he did was deliberately lie to the investigation in order to make it appear that his beliefs were in line with Plaid Cymru policy. If so, I guess his purpose would have been to make it appear that I had no reason at all to criticize him, and therefore that my criticism of him was unreasonable and unjustified.

But that is to miss the point. I never called Rhun a liar on the basis of whether or not he agreed with Plaid Cymru policy. I called him a liar because he misrepresented our policy by saying that we support the construction of new nuclear power stations on existing nuclear sites. We don't. We are totally opposed to the construction of any new nuclear power stations in Wales.

-

But there is perhaps another possibility: that he is in fact against nuclear power, but that he lied to everyone in Môn and Wales about it because he thought that telling this lie was the only way he would be elected ... and that being elected was more important to him than telling the truth.

I'm sure it is a story that has been told many ways in many languages, but in the novel Dirgel Ddyn by Mihangel Morgan is a character called Mr Schloss. He is the landlord of the house in which the author has a bedsit, and his idea of conversation revolves around praising Thatcher and saying that Hitler had the right idea about the Jews. Not exactly the most endearing of people. But one day he finds his cat has been killed and is distraught. In his grief he confides to the author that his cat was the nearest thing to a family he had, and tells the story of his childhood. As a small boy in Germany he sees the Nazis kill his entire family, but he manages to stay hidden and survives. When he asks the man who rescues him why the Nazis would do this, he learns that it is because his family was Jewish, and is told that he must never, ever tell anyone that he is Jewish. So what does the small boy do? He reckons that no-one will suspect him of being a Jew if he goes round telling everyone how much he hates the Jews. So that's what he does, and it then becomes a part of his life that he can't change ... even though every time he says how much he hates the Jews, he twists the knife a little deeper into his own heart.

Immediately after the Ynys Môn by-election, I summed up my thoughts in this post, and said something which I am still sure is true, although maybe one word now needs to be changed. For me, the big question in the by-election campaign was why Rhun started by being ambiguous about whether or not he supported Wylfa B, and only made his position clear in that infamous tweet of 19 July:

One explanation is that he was being goaded by Labour, who were making all sorts of silly accusations to try and catch him off balance. At one time they were saying that his ambivalence about whether or not he supported Wylfa B was a sign that he secretly supported it; but when another Labour goon suggested that it was a sign that he was secretly against Wylfa B it proved so -------- to him that he felt he had to say he supported it.

At the time, the word I used was "offensive". But what if his ambiguity at the start of the campaign was not to hide the fact that he supported Wylfa B, but to hide the fact that he opposed it? Perhaps the word should have been "embarrassing", and what motivated him to jump that way was the fear that telling the truth would cost him the election. He had tried to sit on the fence about it, but when the fence was shaken he made the mistake of choosing the easy way out and is now living a lie on the wrong side of it. So far as the public is concerned he has put his cards on the table and is unambiguously pro-nuclear ... and now that he's said it, he can't go back on it for fear of being exposed as someone unscrupulous enough to tell lies in order to save his electoral skin.

-

As I've said, I don't know which one is true. If Rhun is against nuclear energy, then he lied to the people of Ynys Môn and to Wales as a whole, probably because he thought that he needed to lie in order to get elected. If he is in favour of nuclear energy, then he lied to an official Plaid Cymru investigation, either in an attempt to make it appear that my criticism of him was unjustified or, far worse, because he wanted to stitch me up.

With the publication of this report it will now be obvious to everyone that, one way or the other, Rhun has lied about where he stands on the issue of nuclear energy.
 

 
But this was not the only new lie that came to light as a result of the first official investigation. It turns out that Rhun also lied about his previous membership of Plaid. This is what I wrote about it:
 

 
Johnny come back lately ap Iorwerth

Originally posted on 20 February 2014

 

In the comments section of my post of 29 July entitled Rhun ap Iorwerth is lying about Wylfa B was this exchange:

Lyndon said:

This blog is now being quoted by Plaid's enemies in the by-election, so I hope you're happy.

99 people out of a hundred in Wales couldn't give a monkey's nuts about the nuclear power issue.

Rule #1 in politics, never mistake your own personal obsessions for a matter of genuine public interest (see also: Tories/Europe).

 
MH said:

In case you hadn't realized it, Lyndon, my position on nuclear power is not a "personal obsession". It is an opinion shared by the majority of Plaid members. It is my party's policy, and I am not prepared to sweep it under the carpet for the sake of some Johnny-come-lately who has only been a member for a few weeks and who only made his support for Wylfa B clear after he had been selected as Plaid's candidate.

So don't get angry with me, direct your anger at those responsible for undermining party policy instead.

I was then taken to task for this and accused of telling lies about Rhun in an anonymous comment on Blog Menai. This is the exchange:

Anonymous said:

MH 'di'r un sydd 'di deud celwyddau. Roedd m'ond angen iddo godi'r ffôn i rywun call ac mi fyddai wedi darganfod y canlynol:

... 2. dydi Rhun ddim yn rhyw "Jonny Come Lately" i Blaidd Cymru – fuodd o'n aelod yn yr 80au/90au cynnar cyn troi ei law at newyddiadura

... Y cyfan yr oedd MH angen ei wneud i sefydlu'r ffeithiau hyn oedd i godi'r ffôn i Rhun neu eraill yn y Blaid – dyna fyddai aelod cyfrifol wedi ei wneud. Yn hytrach mi ddaru fo gychwyn grwsâd anheg ac anghywir gan wneud niwed iddo fo'i hun a'r Blaid. Siomedig.

MH is the one who is telling lies. He only needed to phone anyone with any sense and he would have discovered the following:

... 2. Rhun is not some "Jonny Come Lately" to Plaid Cymru – he was a member in the 80s/early 90s before turning his hand to journalism

... All that MH needed to do to establish these facts was to lift the phone and speak to Rhun or someone else in Plaid – that's what a responsible member would have done. But instead he embarked on an unfair and incorrect crusade, doing damage to both himself and Plaid. Disappointing.

 
MH said:

Am aelodaeth y Blaid: Rhun yw'r un a oedd yn disgrifio ei hun fel "aelod newydd" o'r blaid, yma, nid fel rhywun sy'n ail-ymuno i'r blaid. Celwydd arall? Ydoedd, os oes hynny ddim yn wir.

Dwi'n cael fy meirniadu am alw Rhun yn "Johnny come lately", a dwi'n ymddiheuro am hynny'n llwyr os oedd Rhun yn aelod yn yr 80au. Byddai e'n "Johnny come back lately" yn hytrach. Ond, rili, beth yw'r ots am hynny? Os oedd Rhun yn aelod yn gynt, Rhun roedd yn gamarweiniol am y peth, nid y fi.

About [his] membership of Plaid: Rhun was the one who described himself as a new member of the party, here, not as someone who was rejoining the party. Another lie? Yes it was, if that wasn't the truth.

I'm being criticized for calling Rhun a "Johnny come lately", and I completely apologize for that if Rhun was a member in the 80s. He would be a "Johnny come back lately" instead. But really, what does it matter? If Rhun was a member before, Rhun was the one being misleading about it, not me.

From my point of view, all I was being presented with were assertions in an anonymous comment with no evidence to back them up. That is why my response was "if". But the matter came up again in the comments to my post on 15 August:

Beard said:

I think you'll find Rhun was a member for years in his youth before joining the BBC and running over your dog.

 
MH said:

The story that Rhun was a former member of Plaid has been doing the rounds, Beard. I don't think it's particularly important either way, but I'll point you to what I said about it here on BlogMenai. Rhun described himself as a new member here on his blog, not as someone who was rejoining the party. So if he was in fact a former member, it would be another example of him misleading people.

In the investigation report, this was twisted into the following bald statement:

August 15 (post-election)
MH claims Rhun had stated he was a new member of Plaid Cymru and was therefore misleading people if he was in fact a former member.

It's a distortion for a number of reasons. First, it implies that I was making the accusation, when I was in fact responding to the accusation that I was telling lies. Second, it's hardly a "claim", as if to cast a shadow of doubt over whether what I said was true. It's a simple indisputable fact that Rhun did describe himself as a new member of the party. Isn't the whole point of an investigation to find out whether "claims" are or are not true?

-

Let's be clear, this is not a big lie on Rhun's part, and I wouldn't even be mentioning it except for the fact that it was considered important enough to be included in the official investigation report and used as evidence against me for supposedly bringing the party into disrepute. I'm presenting it as an example of how certain people in Plaid Cymru had lost all sense of perspective, and were scraping the barrel looking for any tiny thing that could be bent out of shape to use against me.

I'm equally sure that those in positions of power in Plaid Cymru who were responsible for trying to stitch me up will now try and point the finger at Shaughan and say that the contents of the report are his and his alone. But that's not entirely fair on Shaughan. As this accusation was not mentioned in Elin's letter of complaint, it seems clear that Elin must have pointed him to it ... but not pointed him to the context in which it was said. If I had not been shut out of the investigation, I could have told Shaughan all of this at the time. I could have directed him to what was said in the context in which it was said. But, as only became clear to me several months after the event, he was given specific legal advice by Plaid Cymru's lawyers not to contact me by email to ask me any questions.

-

What is so tragic is that this was a completely pointless and unnecessary thing for Rhun to lie about. Why say anything at all about being a "new member"? Nobody was putting him under any pressure or asking him any awkward questions about it. If he can't be honest and straightforward about himself, even on a completely uncontentious issue, how on earth can anybody trust him to be honest and straightforward about what he believes on more contentious political issues?

Yet Elin, in her letter of complaint about me, says she is sure that the people of Ynys Môn "would have known Rhun's integrity enough to trust him over an unknown blogger". My answer is that integrity is something Rhun needs to do rather more work on than I do.

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How Plaid Cymru Works - 22

This is the twenty-second tranche of emails from the correspondence between various people in Plaid Cymru and myself, following a complaint about what I had written on the subject of the Ynys Môn by-election last year. For easy reference, I've put together the all the previous correspondence on this page, which I will keep updating as further emails are published.

From the emails in the previous post people will see that I had asked Nerys, as Deputy Chair of the party, to intervene in the same way as Leanne had asked Dafydd to intervene before (Dafydd was now disqualified by reason of his previous involvement, which is why Nerys had taken over his role in overseeing this matter) because it was clear that the second Hearing Panel was rushing headlong into making almost exactly the same mistakes as the first Hearing Panel had made. Just as Chris Franks had done last year, Eli Jones also expected me to turn up and be judged without having seen a copy of the investigation report, without knowing exactly what the case against me was supposed to be, and without any prior disclosure of the evidence that would be presented.

But this time round nothing happened, and so the hearing went ahead anyway. The next I heard was this email from Eli Jones, which I will publish without comment for now. I think everyone who has been following this series will be able to make up their own minds about it.

From: Eli Jones
Sent: Friday, 20 June 2014, 4:54pm
To: Undisclosed recipients
Subject: Complaint made by Elin Jones AM aganst Michael Haggett, August 2013

To: Michael Haggett and the Director of Communications
Copy to: Hearing Panel members, Chief Executive, and Party Chair

Without prejudice

Dear Mr Haggett and Ms Jones

Further to my earlier correspondence informing you that the Panel had reached a decision that there was a case to answer concerning the allegation that Mr Haggett had engaged in -

Actions or statements damaging or potentially damaging to the public reputation of the party

contrary to Standing Order 3.1iii, and that there would therefore be a formal hearing to consider the evidence, I now write to you to inform you of the outcome of that formal hearing, held at Tŷ Gwynfor on 17th June 2014.

You will recall that both parties were invited to attend to present their case, and/or to submit a written statement in advance. Both parties were asked to acknowledge receipt of that communication and to indicate whether it was their intention to attend the hearing.

The Panel was informed that Ms Jones would not be submitting a written statement nor would she be attending, as she felt she had nothing further to add to the complaint she had submitted in August 2013.

The Panel received no response from Mr Haggett, despite having taken the precaution of ensuring a copy of our correspondence had reached its destination as it was sent by recorded delivery.

The Panel therefore proceeded with the formal hearing in the absence of both parties to the complaint.You are invited to present your case before the Hearing Panel at that time.

The Panel formally received the Investigating Officer’s Report, (Standing Order 4.6i), and considered the evidence set out in the original complaint and in the Report. The Panel was also prepared to consider any submission received through appropriate channels from Mr Haggett, but none was forthcoming. The Panel expressed its total dismay at the lack of co-operation, and the lack of contrition or remorse, but also its abject horror to learn of the breach of paragraph 9.1 of the Standing Orders for Membership, Discipline and Standards, and the reminders included in both direct communications from the Panel to the parties, concerning public statements regarding the circumstances or persons involved in a disciplinary procedure. These make it quite clear that:

No public statement regarding the circumstances or persons involved in a disciplinary Procedure shall be made by any member other than the Chair of the Party until after the conclusion of any appeal or until after the last day for the making of an appeal in the event of no appeal being made.

The Panel had been made aware that not only had Mr Haggett been blogging about the proceedings, and that this was the source of a non-helpful article in The Western Mail published on 14 June 2014, but that Mr Hagget had published verbatim within his blog the correspondence he had received from the Panel.

This action on Mr Haggett’s part confirmed to the Panel that Mr Haggett had received our correspondence, and that he had chosen not to respond to us, contrary to our request, but also that he had deliberately flouted the requirements of paragraph 9.1. In turn, that implied that he was acting audaciously towards the Panel, and by extension, towards the Party.

The Panel considered whether to refer such disregard and deliberate impudence onwards as a further, separate complaint against Mr Hagget, but having concluded that no useful benefit would be derived form further referral, the Panel regarded this latest inappropriate behaviour as an extension to, and part of, the subject matter of the complaint currently under review.

In addressing the core subject matter of the complaint, the Panel found that there was evidence to support the allegation of

Actions or statements damaging or potentially damaging, the public reputation of the party (Standing Order 3.1.iii).

Plaid Cymru is a party which is united by the aims outlined in its constitution but naturally encompasses a broad range of views and opinions. Like any other organisation, our members are not always going to agree on everything – but we do manage to get along with one another and we respect each other, and each other’s standpoints.

We understand that Mr Haggett had concerns about the manner of Rhun ap Iorwerth’s selection, but there is provision in our Constitution for such circumstances. We understand that Mr Haggett had different views and opinions to Rhun’s (and others), and we understand that annoyance and frustration can arise when events take a path contrary to our wishes. This is why Plaid has robust and wide-ranging internal democratic mechanisms in place which allow for discussion and debate and resolution of our differences – even if it lands up as an agreement to disagree. There was no evidence whatsoever that Mr Haggett had attempted to utilise such mechanisms. Mr Hagget’s concerns, whether in relation to the selection process or any of the other issues featured in his blog during the election campaign, appear not to have been raised through the proper constitutional channels Plaid provides.

What the Panel found was evidence of a distressingly vicious and personalised escalating attack on one of its members. The Panel was appalled by the degree of vitriol and unsubstantiated allegations targeted at the candidate. Criticism of our candidate’s views on any topic is unhelpful in the context of a by-election, but Mr Haggett went far beyond acceptable comment by referring to him, inter alia, as a “liar” and a “dishonest politician” without any evidence to support such serious allegations. The Panel would consider the making of such scurrilous allegations against a member of another Party as inappropriate and unacceptable, but to make them against a member of one’s own party is beyond belief.

There did not appear to have been any attempt to apologise to Rhun ap Iorwerth, whether directly, or as part of the disciplinary process, for this slur on his personal integrity, nor was any contrition shown for the verbal assault impugning Rhun’s reputation nor for undermining the efforts of loyal Plaid members during such a significant by-election. The absence of a response from Mr Haggett to the Panel is indicative of how even he himself could not defend such behaviour.

Any democratic party will have to deal with contentious issues which divide opinion. Some of these debates may become heated but it is the responsibility of all members to avoid personalising disputes and to respect and tolerate the views of members who are of a different persuasion. Plaid values diversity. But Plaid also expects respect for different views, and from all its members towards all its members. On the basis of the evidence before it, the Panel found that in the course of his blog attacks on Rhun ap Iorwerth, Mr Haggett had manifestly failed to respect a fellow member, had undermined the efforts of fellow members, and had shown unacceptable intolerance of views that differed from his own. This transgression was further compounded by the open contempt shown for the workings of this Panel, and thereby, Plaid in general.

The Panel regards Mr Haggett’s behaviour in this matter as not the behaviour that members of Plaid Cymru have the right to expect from their party colleagues - indeed, no major organisation would tolerate such behaviour from a member.

It is therefore the unanimous decision of the Panel that the complaint made by Elin Jones in August 2013 be upheld, and that recent behaviour, towards the Panel, (and therefore Plaid), contrary to paragraph 9.1, compounds and exacerbates an untenable situation. The Panel considers both these aspects of the same complaint to be sufficiently serious to require a sanction.

The Panel concluded that Mr Haggett’s party membership be suspended for a period of not less than two years, with immediate effect. Any future application for membership from Mr Haggett will be subject to the scrutiny and approval of the Membership, Disciplinary and Standards Committee.

Incidentally, the provisions of paragraph 9.1, remain applicable, for the time being.

Yours sincerely

Eli Jones
Chair - Hearing Panel

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