How Plaid Cymru Works - 2

This is the second tranche of emails from the correspondence between various other 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. The first tranche is here.

From: Chris Franks
Sent: Wednesday, 11 September 2013, 1:44pm
To: Michael Haggett
Subject: Panel Aelodaeth, Disyblaeth a Safonau / Membership, Disciplinary and Standards Panel

Dear Michael

Thank you for your email today. I fear that you are referring to the constitution which was superseded at the special conference held earlier this year. I attach for your information the relevant section of the current constitution which might assist.

Best Wishes

Chris Franks

Rheolau Sefydlog ADS / Standing Orders MDS

From: Michael Haggett
Sent: Wednesday, 11 September 2013, 5:46pm
To: Chris Franks
Cc: Rhuanedd Richards, Shaughan Feakes, Leanne Wood
Subject: Panel Aelodaeth, Disgyblaeth a Safonau / Membership, Disciplinary and Standards Panel

Dear Chris

Thank you for attaching the new standing orders. Would you please now send me a copy of the entire constitution.


It is clear that you and the Membership, Disciplinary and Standards Panel are not acting in accordance with these standing orders. Section 3 requires there to be grounds for initiating disciplinary or investigatory procedures. You would therefore need to set out what these grounds are, but you have not done so.

It is therefore premature for you to move on to Section 4. You cannot appoint a Hearing Panel without having grounds for moving to this stage, and until a Hearing Panel has been appointed, it cannot appoint an Investigating Officer.

You may of course take whatever steps you wish to determine whether or not to move to Section 4, but they are of no concern to me unless or until you do.


For my part, I would repeat my warning. A complaint against me by one member of the party will not make the party as a whole a public laughing stock. But if the party itself chooses to instigate formal investigatory or disciplinary procedures against me, that investigation will of necessity have to cover the actions and statements of those I have criticized, which makes them subject to disciplinary procedures for damaging the public reputation of the party.

So go ahead, make my day. The people I have criticized should be held to account, and it is high time the party took action against them. But if the party is so two-faced that it takes action against a member for exposing what they have done, but does not take action against them for what they did to occasion such criticism, it will damage the public reputation of the party even more.

Best regards

Michael Haggett

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Anonymous said...

In truth, I don't think you are damaging 'the party' at all. Rather, you are holding to account some of those that purport to represent the party.

Long overdue if you don't mind me saying!

Welsh not British said...

Just to get this straight. They objected to you using their own hypocrisy in your site content. They went away and had a think about it and the best they could come up with is to provide you with even more hypocrisy for your site content.

Depending on how this plot develops I wonder what their next course of action will be?

Anonymous said...

Looks like you got caught out over the rules, MH. Your making a fool of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that contribution of 17:14 from Rhun ap Iowerth.

Gwyn Hughes said...

Thank you for telling me what Ty Gwynfor is (comment made in previous post). I spoke too soon. An internal investigation is not as good as an independent investigation would be. The Liberal Democrats made sure that the recent Lord Rennard inquiry was conducted by an independent QC, and that gave it authority and credibility. An inquiry by a staff member into allegations involving a sitting AM would be impossible with conflict of interest, because the staff member's job would depend on him doing what those who employ him expect from him. It would be a very brave man who could remain impartial in those circumstances.

I read through the Standing Orders and saw in 3.3.111 that there is an option for "mediatory intervention" rather than to go straight to a formal investigation. Did Chris Franks or anyone else try to do this? Would'nt it have been better to try this approach first rather than jump in feet first with the heavy boots on?

MH said...

By publishing what happened, it certainly isn't my intention to damage the party, 03:12. Exactly the opposite. The hypocrisy and wrongdoing is confined to a small number of people in positions of power in the party, and I am publishing this in the hope that it will give the others the ammunition necessary to make sure they don't try to do the same thing again.


That's the problem, Stu. They went away and had a think about it, and then decided to carry on anyway. I tried my best to warn them of the consequences and, as you can see, I was offering Chris a fig leaf so that he could pull back from the brink with dignity intact.


Yes, I admit I got it wrong, 17:14. In fact I had less excuse for it than others because I was on National Council, and was therefore involved in the process to revise the internal procedures of the party following Eurfyl ap Gwilym's review.

The new SOs for disciplinary matters seem quite reasonable though. In fact in some ways they are better. But as soon as I read it I could see that Chris was not following the procedure set out in them. As Chair of the MDSP, he had absolutely excuse for not acting in accordance with them.


No problem, Gwyn. I should have realized that Ty Gwynfor would not be obvious to everybody.

I'd agree that the way the LibDems did it with Chris Rennard should be a lesson to us. With hindsight, things should have been done much more professionally. But I didn't object at the time because the issue was so black-and-white that it would be impossible to envisage the investigation coming to any conclusion other than that Rhun was lying, and therefore that nobody could object to me calling him a liar. What actually happened would be to cut a long story short. There are lots more twists and turns to come.

To answer your question, no. Nobody made any approaches to me beforehand. Obviously I was aware that what I wrote had upset and angered a number of people in the party, because of the comments they left on Syniadau. But I explained why I did what I did at the time, and many people understood and agreed with what I'd said. No-one in a position of power in the party sent me any private emails to express concern about what I wrote.

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