The Public Service Ombudsman for Wales has ruled that a councillor who faced a complaint of “harassment” from another councillor he wrote articles about online was entitled to free speech.
Councillor Jonathan Bishop, who is the parish councillor for Cam East, was accused of harassment by Councillor Louisa Mills, who is the community councillor for Llantrisant on Llantrisant Community Council.
Councillor Bishop was accused by Councillor Mills of harassment when he posted articles on the Internet to discredit her links with Llantrisant when both were contesting a by-election to Llantrisant Community Council.
Councillor Mills completed her compulsory education in Carmarthen, but had studied in Llantrisant as part of her primary education. Louisa Mills complained that Councillor Bishop’s attempt to discredit her amounted to harassment.
Annie Ginwalla, the Acting Review Manager at the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, responded to an appeal by Councillor Bishop. “You are correct in your assertion and citation of relevant case law that as an elected member you are entitled to enhanced protection of your Article 10 right to the freedom of expression and in such circumstances your comments would not be considered to be a breach of the Code if you were bound by the Model Code as an elected member here in Wales,” she said in a letter to Councillor Bishop.
Councillor Louisa Mills has been informed of the decision of the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales.
The Labour Party has taken a hammering in the Llantrisant Town By-Election, even with the local MP’s wife being parachuted into the role to take on Independent candidate, Freeman Jonathan Bishop, who was expected to take the seat.
The election was won by Louisa Mills, who moved to Llantrisant from Sweden, after being educated in Carmarthen. Louisa Mills promises to build a community garden in the town.
Liz Smith critcised the campaign of Freeman Jonathan Bishop, saying that his facts were “11 years old.” Her husband and Pontypridd MP Owen Smith criticised Bishop for “bringing [his] family into it.” In fact, all Freeman Bishop did was refer to Owen Smith’s wife, who was his opponent.
Freeman Bishop said he fought the election on the facts. “I did not say anything about Owen Smith’s family – his wife was my opponent,” he said. “I used the same strategy against Liz Smith that New Labour used in 1997, 2001 and 2005, which was to make reference to my opponents’ record and past statements.
“If they did not want me to raise these then they shouldn’t have said or done them.
“My campaign was on the whole positive, with me supporting the war memorial plans, and furthering my desire for there to be a Llantrisant festival.
“If my opponents cannot take their record, or lack of, being challenged then they should ask themselves if they are being fair on the electorate who may be far less restrained in their choice of words than I have been.”
Gareth Phillips, of TechArts, who was part of Louisa Mills’s campaign team, also criticised Freeman Bishop’s approach. “[E]ven though Louisa is another candidate she is also a member of the community first and foremost,” he said. “Louisa lives in Llantrisant and went to school in the area.”
Louisa Mills won the election with over 50% of the vote, polling 320 votes. Labour’s Liz Smith gained 273 votes and Independent Jonathan Bishop received 32 votes.
An innovative environmental project is set to expand its reach to Llantrisant, it has been revealed.
The Emotivate Project is set to expand its reach from Llantwit Fardre into Llantrisant in Wales as part of ambitious plans to link young people the two areas with other youths in Cam and Dursley in England.
The Emotivate Project was highly commended by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council in 2014. It was the brainchild of Councillor Jonathan Bishop, who is also seeking election to Llantrisant Town in Wales and is already the parish councillor for Lower Cam in England, hoping to combine the two roles. “I hope that by being the local councillor for both communities I can make this project happen in a more ambitious fashion,” he said. “I have been a local councillor for 25 per cent of my life and as I have already run this project in Treforest and Llanwit Fardre, having served on the councils in both those areas.”
The Emotivate Project gives young people the chance to develop their understanding of the history area at the same time as improve their IT skills in order to design and paint a mural reflecting their ideas of the area’s past and present and what they want the future to be like.
Mark Beech is the Chief Personnel, Strategy & Quality Officer at the Crocels Community Media Group, which the project is being run under the auspices of. “I am really pleased that Councillor Jonathan Bishop will be running our highly commended project, not only in Llantwit Fardre as planned, but Llantrisant also,” he said. “Being a historian myself, I am confident that Jonathan has designed a programme that will energise young people to have the passion for the history of Llantrisant and Llanwit Fardre that he has.”
Councillor Jonathan Bishop said his project would help bring both communities in England and Wales together, promoting fellowship between the two nations. “Being a Freeman of Llantrisant I am proud to stand for election in the town,” he said. “My grandfather founded the Llantrisant Workingmen’s Club, former Council Chairman Ivor Jacob is a relative, my Great Aunt Lottie was a musician in the town, my great grandfather was a carpenter who worked on the Parish Church’s roof.
“This project will be going ahead whether I win or lose, and there is so much the communities have in common without having to share the same councillor.
“We have the Billy Wynt in Llantrisant, and Cam has Cam Peak.
“We have the Cwm Coke Works here, and Cam and Dursley have Cam Mills.
“Llantrisant has its castle ruins, and Dursley Castle has legendary status there too.“
The Labour Party has Surrey’s Liz Smith, the wife of Pontypridd MP Owen Smith, parachuted in as a candidate for Llantrisant Town to try to prevent Freeman of Llantrisant Jonathan Bishop taking the seat.
Liz Smith has only lived in Llantrisant since 2011, moving from her home in Surrey following husband Owen Smith’s election in 2010.
Owen Smith left Pontypridd in 2005 in order to promote the interests of drugs firm, Pfizer. Following losing the Blaenau Gwent by-election in 2006, he was rewarded with candidature in the Pontypridd parliamentary seat in Labour’s heartlands, which he won in 2010.
Liz Smith is taking on Freeman Jonathan Bishop, whose family connections with the town date back to the 1700s. Freeman Bishop previously served on Llantwit Fardre Community Council and Pontypridd Town Council. His grandfather, Seth Morgan, founded the Llantrisant Workingmen’s Club and former Llantrisant Town Council Chairman, Ivor Jacob, is a direct ancestor.
Freeman Jonathan Bishop says this is pure desperation by the Labour Party. “The Labour Party know I am the strongest candidate in this election and are hoping that as Liz Smith has an address in Llantrisant that she will appear more local than me,” he said. “The reality is that both my opponents have moved into the town from other localities.
“Liz Smith moved from Surrey and Louisa Mills is from Carmarthen, and both need to realise that having an address in Llantrisant does not make them more local than me, as I have a strong family history and passion for the town that they cannot match.
“I have stood in nearly a dozen elections, including for the UK Parliament, and standing in my family home town of Llantrisant is my proudest.”
The election to the ward of Llantrisant Town on Llantrisant Community Council is taking place on Thursday 10 March 2016.
A Freeman of Llantrisant is supporting calls for a return of the Llantrisant Festival.
Freeman Jonathan Bishop was baptised and confirmed at Llantrisant Parish Church and was made a Freeman of the town in 2001. Freeman Bishop says he supports the call for the festival to be held in June, but says plans need to be more ambitious. “The Parish Church holds in fete in the summer, the Community Council chooses its chairman in May, and the Freemen hold the Court Leet in May also, and Armed Forces Day is celebrated in June also” he said. “I would like a month long festival linking all these separate events to create a festival that even the organisers of the Sherwood Forest one envy as theirs is based on myth and ours would be based on history.”
Carmarthen girl, Louisa Mills, has announced she will be contesting the by-election in Llantrisant.
Louisa Mills, who studied at Queen Elizabeth Cambria School in Carmarthen, is to stand to Llantrisant for the community council. “A crazy old man once told me, when I was a wide eyed little girl, that I was stood at a ‘gateway to the Other World’,” Louisa Mills said. “It was an otherwise ordinary family holiday in Land’s End, Cornwall.
“What I couldn’t have known was that I was also stood in a moment that would direct my life in so many ways,” she concluded about Cornwall in England. “My favourite places to eat out are those that tend to have a lot of traditional Welsh food on their menus – it was The Cawdors hotel when I lived near Llandeilo,” she added.
Louisa Mills draws on experience for her time working for Cygnus Books in Llandeilo, Dyfed. “Over the years I’ve developed a unique art and talent for conveying it with well chosen words,” she said. “My avid career, in editorial and copywriting, is built largely on that eager perception – it means I can get straight to the heart of a brand or product and translate crucial sales messages into engaging and personal calls to action.“
The Clerk of Llantrisant Community Council has blocked Dzôn’s request to submit to the council a petition of 51 signatures against the calls by newly elected community councillor, Ron Hunt, for fox hunting to be reintroduced.
Alison Jenkins, who is responsible for the council’s administrative arrangements, was adamant that the petition, which Dzôn promised to put before the council even if he lost the election, would not be heard by councillors. “I have spoken to my Vice Chair and the Monitoring Officer at RCT and all are agreed that the petition relates to the expressed views of a newly appointed Councillor,” she said. “Councillors are entitled to their own views, there would only be an issue if those views had been expressed as those of the Community Council.”
Dzôn believes Alison Jenkins’s views show the contempt for the democratic process that exists in the South Wales Valleys. “I made a promise to the 51 people who signed my petition and the 20 people who voted for me than win or lose I would put this petition before Llantrisant Community Council,” he said. “Alison Jenkins it totally out of order not allowing this petition to be put to the full council. “As a member of the public I have as much right to hold Cllr Ron Hunt to account for his views after the election as I did during the election.
“This is typical behaviour of the Labour-led establishment, censoring debate if it proves not to be to their liking.”
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s returning officer, Christopher Jones, has not yet responded to a request for information on the issue.