How Plaid Cymru Works - 15

This is the fifteenth 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: Alun Cox
Sent: Saturday, 25 January 2014, 9:19am
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards, Richard Grigg, Phil Bevan, Janet Davies
Subject: Re: Appeal and other matters

Hi Michael

thanks for sending the file of your submission through .

I had set a new deadline this morning wsa for panel members to send in any questions - an extention to them.

I have taken into account the evidence that has been submitted to you as I had agreed with you that you could provide your final evidence up to 24hrs before the appeal.

For my part I will ask and instruct all panel members to come through me for any questions that they wish to send to you. I do this because as the chair of the anel it is my responsibility to ensure taht all questions dael with the questions that face us rather than any issues relating to the previous hearing. Therfore I will insist that panel members DO NOT send questions directly to you. I also think it would be better if you have any communication for the panel memebers to likewise be directed to me in the first instance.

I note your willingness to take any questions after the today and I will therefore allow members of the panel to subkmit questions through me up to 24hrs before the panel hearing.

Regards

Alun

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Wednesday, 29 January 2014, 12:57pm
To: Alun Cox
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards, Leanne Wood
Subject: Re: Appeal and other matters

Dear Alun

This is just a short email to note that I have not received any questions about my submission of evidence, or in response to evidence from others, or even general questions.

I'm writing this just in case you have tried to send some through to me, but the email has somehow gone astray. I'm still prepared to answer any questions you have.

I'd also like to say that I would not normally have bypassed you by sending the submission through to Janet, Phil and Richard directly. I did it only because the deadline for asking questions, as it then stood, was less than five hours away and I wanted to give each of you as much time as possible to ask questions before it expired.

Best regards

Michael Haggett

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Monday, 3 February 2014, 3:40pm
To: Alun Cox
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards, Leanne Wood
Subject: Re: Appeal and other matters

Dear Alun

I'm a little surprised that I haven't heard from you following the Appeal Hearing set for 29 January. In your email of 20 January you said you hoped to inform all parties of the outcome within 24 hours, and that you would try to give an indication of how long it would take if this was not possible. I was prepared to wait a little longer to give you time to write things up, but as the weekend has now come and gone I am becoming increasingly concerned about the delay.

1.  Would you confirm whether the meeting on 29 January took place or not.

2.  If it took place as scheduled, would you please send me a record of any evidence presented to it; particularly by Chris, but also by any others.

3.  If you made a decision that evening, would you please tell me what it is.

4.  If you deferred making a decision (which would be understandable, for I had asked you to to this in order for me to have an opportunity to respond any previously undisclosed evidence) would you please set out a timetable for me to receive that evidence, respond to it, and for the Appeal Panel to then make a decision.

I can only guess at the reasons for this delay, but it might be appropriate to remind you that the remit of the Appeal Panel is only to determine whether the disciplinary procedure followed was flawed and therefore unjust. I have presented ample evidence to show that it was.

However, as I have said before, why it happened (and was allowed to happen), who was responsible, what action should be taken against those involved in wrongdoing, and what lessons can be learned to prevent anything similar happening in future are important for us as a party, but need to be dealt with separately.

Best regards

Michael Haggett

From: Alun Cox
Sent: Tuesday, 4 February 2014, 8:29pm
To: Michael Haggett
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards, Dafydd Trystan
Subject: Appeal Hearing 29th Jan 2014

Hi Michael

Please find attached a copy of a letter that outlines the decisions of the Appeal Panel of 29th January.

As you will see from the letter the Panel has decided to uphold your appeal on two particular grounds and therefore the earlier decision of the Hearing panel is rescinded.

However the panel has determined that the Process should be re-started from the point at which any potential problems arose. In practice this means that the process has reverted to the time after the MDSP had determined that there is a case to answer and therefore a panel should be constituted and an Investigating Officer appointed to conduct the investigation. As detailed in the letter the process is still ongoing and therefore no public comments should be made at this time.

I have copied Dafydd Trystan into this email and have for the reasons outlined in the letter passed the role of constituting and determining the next steps to him. I am sure that he will be in touch with you shortly witrh his proposal for how the process is dealt with in this regard.

Best Regards

Alun

4th February 2014

Dear Michael

Appeal Hearing convened at Ty Gwynfor, 29th January 2014

I am writing to inform you of the outcome of the Appeal hearing that was convened at Ty Gwynfor on the evening of 29th January in order to consider your appeal against the decision of the Formal disciplinary hearing convened at Ty Gwynfor, 3 December 2013.

The appeal panel decided to uphold your appeal with regard to two particular grounds:

•  Failure to inform you of the timetable which may have caused an injustice.
•  Potential factual inaccuracies may have been presented to the panel with
regard to your willingness or otherwise to supply information.

Whilst the panel found that there was no intention to mislead or to ignore procedure, it could not be certain that any infringement did not potentially lead to an unjust procedure.

It was therefore determined by the panel that the complaint levelled by Elin Jones AM should be re-started from the point in the procedure after which any irregularities may have occurred. It is our determination that a new investigation should be completed by an Investigative Officer and a timetable set for a new panel to hear the case.

May I remind you therefore that as the process has been restarted that the same restrictions apply to the dissemination of any information regarding this process. As stated previously this matter will be dealt with in the strictest confidence and only the chair of the party is authorised to make any public comment.

I am sending a copy of this letter to other parties that have an interest in this case, namely; Elin Jones (complainant), Chris Franks (Chair of MDSP) and Dafydd Trystan (PC Chair).

I will be further discussing with Dafydd and Rhuanedd the potential make up of the panel to hear this case as in some way or another most current members of the MDSP have already been involved with hearing the case or the appeal.

Alun Cox

Chair of the appeal panel

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Monday, 3 February 2014, 3:40pm
To: Alun Cox
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards, Leanne Wood
Subject: Re: Appeal and other matters

Dear Alun

Thank you for your email and attached letter of 4 February. I would make the following points:

 
1.  The first and most important thing to note is that the remit of the Appeal Panel was only to determine whether the procedure followed by the Hearing Panel was flawed and therefore unjust. You decided that it was.

 
2.  I note that you have refused to send me a copy of the evidence presented by Chris and, on top of that, went ahead and made a decision based, at least in part, on that evidence without giving me any opportunity to consider, question, challenge or rebut what he might say.

The Appeal Panel was given a golden opportunity to show that the behaviour of the Hearing Panel, and Chris in particular, was an aberration from the high standards which every member has a right to expect from those in positions of power within our party. But instead you have shown that the remainder of the MDSP is every bit as bad. You have completely ignored the fundamental principle of prior disclosure of evidence and, worse than that, have allowed Chris to give what is in effect secret evidence. The first was foolish, but the second is contrary to any concept of justice. This is characteristic of the clandestine culture that infests certain sections of Plaid Cymru.

 
3.  You state you have "found that there was no intention to mislead or to ignore procedure". I must again remind you that was outside the remit of the Appeal Panel to make such a finding. As I said in my email of 3 February:

Why the obviously flawed procedure happened (and was allowed to happen), who was responsible, what action should be taken against those involved in wrongdoing, and what lessons can be learned to prevent anything similar happening in future are important for us as a party, but need to be dealt with separately.

I very much hope that the party does hold an inquiry into what has happened, and I would be happy to contribute to it, but this appeal was definitely not that inquiry. To put it bluntly, the whole way the MDSP operates needs to be reviewed in the light of what has happened, and you cannot pass judgment on yourselves.

 
4.  The idea that the disciplinary procedure can now be "re-started" is simply not allowed for under SOs. In any event, it is laughable. Chris was warned time after time that SOs were being ignored, but went ahead anyway. Dafydd made the decision to deliberately turn a blind eye to the fact that SOs were being ignored even when asked to ensure that all procedures had been properly followed and that everyone was treated properly and fairly. In short, the party was given every opportunity to address this before the hearing took place, but didn't. How many bites at the cherry do you need?

 
5.  Included in the document you sent me on 14 January was this statement from the minutes of the meeting of the full MDSP on 3 December:

Michael Haggett’s complaint: The complaint and supporting evidence provided by Michael Haggett were fully considered by the members of the Panel. It was agreed that there were no grounds for any further action and the complaint was not upheld. Mr Haggett would be informed of this decision. The panel however resolved to write to the relevant elected groups to note that they needed to be careful when making speeches/announcements and to consider the impact their comments may have on the party.

If this is indeed what happened, I would note that I was never informed about it. I would also note that under clause 3.5 of SOs the reasons for such a decision would need to be conveyed to me as the complainant, and this was not done either. As for the letters or emails sent to the "relevant elected groups", I would have expected to be sent a copy of them in the same way as you sent Elin a copy of what you wrote to me.

The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the MDSP's failure to inform me of that decision, give me reasons for it, or send me copies of the letters of warning you resolved to send to the "relevant elected groups" is that you did not properly evaluate my complaint. If you had, you would have done these things at the time.

As I have said many times, it is simply not possible to consider my criticism of Rhun in isolation from the statements and actions that occasioned my criticism of him. The fact that one of our candidates resorted to telling a blatant lie is shameful and embarrassing to the party, and to me as a member of the party. But the fault is Rhun's for telling the lie, not mine for doing everything in my power to put right the damage he caused.

Yet it would not be right to single out Rhun for telling essentially the same lie that Elfyn, Bob and Dafydd had told before him. Fairness demands that all four should be held to account, rather than just one of them. But the whole disciplinary process has been handled, from beginning to end, so as to deliberately turn a blind eye to their lies. In my email of 11 September I warned Chris that if the party was so two-faced that it took action against a member for exposing what they have done, but did not take action against them for what they did to occasion such criticism, it would damage the public reputation of the party even more.

Don't say you weren't warned. As a result of this decision, you have made Plaid Cymru a complete laughing stock. You needed to treat my complaints against Rhun, Elfyn, Bob and Dafydd in exactly the same way as you treated Elin's complaint against me. The MDSP's refusal to act in an impartial and even-handed manner shows blatant bias and prejudice, has damaged the reputation of those responsible, and has brought shame and disgrace upon the party as a whole. Yet to compound this, it did not even enter your heads to want to "re-start" the disciplinary process against Rhun, Elfyn, Bob and Dafydd. You only want to "re-start" the disciplinary process against me. You are a bunch of hypocrites, and your double standards will now be obvious to everybody.

 
6.  Your letter, once again, raises the bogus issue of confidentiality. I must therefore remind you of what I said to both Chris on 24 September and Dafydd on 28 October. The disciplinary procedure is not confidential and neither Chris, Dafydd nor the Appeal Panel can make up new rules out of thin air to say that it is. Clause 9.1 of SOs says nothing whatsoever about confidentiality, it only restricts people other than the Chair from making public statements "until after the conclusion of any appeal". The wording is precise and unambiguous. No matter what else might happen, this appeal has now been concluded, therefore I am perfectly free to make any public statements I wish.

Anyone in a position of power in Plaid Cymru who thought that they could get away with doing things behind closed doors, or thought that nobody else would get to hear about the two-faced way in which this matter has been handled, has miscalculated badly. At the outset, I hoped you would see reason and that I would have no need to make what has happened public, but the best protection against arbitrary and unfair use of power is openness and transparency. I therefore intend to publish everything on Syniadau, though I will redact personal information such as addresses and phone numbers.

I am doing this in order to uphold the public reputation of Plaid Cymru for the sake of the many dedicated people who are members of the party or who support us. As I have made clear from the beginning, I do not think it is in the best interests of the party as a whole to keep silent when individuals in positions of power within the party have done wrong or turned a blind eye to wrongdoing. Silence implies consent.

If the party leadership can demonstrate that they will take effective action to correct the lies and misinformation put out by what is, thankfully, only a small handful of our elected politicians, it will go a long way towards alleviating the damage to our reputation as a party of honesty. Either Leanne as leader or Llyr as spokesperson for energy needs to clearly and publicly state that Plaid Cymru's policy is one of total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations in Wales, without making any distinction between new nuclear power stations on new sites and new nuclear power stations on existing sites.

Throughout this farce, this is the one truth so many people have gone to such extraordinary lengths to hide and hide from, but at the length truth will out. It is now time to stop hiding and face it.

Best regards

Michael

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's rather hard to know what to say ...... how do people like this end up in roles like that?

It's a crisis of leadership. And a crisis in leadership means a crisis in funding. And now we can all understand why Rhun is maybe so important to the party.

Anonymous said...

If those who are leading the Party have any sense at all, they will drop this NOW. Leanne Wood needs to get a grip.

I've watched or listened to prominent elected members ride roughshod over party policy in the media for years. I'm heartily sick of it.

I'm not taking anyone's side, but the issue of party discipline has to be faced. Better see to it now, before irreparable damage is done. It's de-motivating for members, and will lose electoral support.

If I see or hear one AM or MP publicly misrepresenting party policy on nuclear power stations in future, I as an active member am GONE. No more hypocrisy.

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

Not just nuclear energy, but also statehood and the Welsh language. Far too much Realpolitik; far too little cojones.

What does Plaid stand for? It's trying to reach out to too many disparate - often conflicting - constituencies. For crying out loud, you're not the Liberal Democrats!

Anonymous said...

Clywch! Clywch! Emlyn.

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