Cllr Rob James, leader of the Labour opposition group on Carmarthenshire Council gives his views recent developments over the unlawful libel indemnity clause. Refreshingly clear and straight to the point, it’s worth a watch.
I have made my views on the matter crystal clear and my efforts to obtain documents from the recent ‘working group’ meeting can be read here. There’s plenty of background on this blog, including the CRWG meeting here.
(Just to be clear, the opinions expressed below, and on this blog are mine alone, not views expressed by Cllr Rob James)
I don’t need to elaborate, I’ve done so many times but I will say, yet again that this clause is unlawful, or, in the real world, illegal. Despite the endless denials and desperate attempts to discredit the Auditor, and anyone else, Mark James knows it too. Since the Auditor’s findings in 2014 he, and head of law Ms Rees-Jones have deliberately and continually misrepresented the legal position and misled councillors, and used precious public resources to do so.
What is worse, perhaps, is that our pious church-going chief executive ‘persuaded’ Plaid council leader Rev Dole to betray his own conscience, u-turn, and sing from the same, profoundly un-Christian-like hymn sheet.
It is very much in Mark James’ interest, and it is his intention, to try and reinstate the clause or at least overturn the label ‘unlawful’. Who knows, perhaps he’s hoping for a knighthood… He has never repaid the unlawful cash and, without a pang of conscience, breached the undertaking to hand over the damages back to the council.
Whatever happens this issue will not go away, despite the administration’s best attempts to muddy the waters, kick it into the long grass, or any similar metaphor.
Whatever your views on the libel case itself, it is extremely important that the clause is completely removed.
As for accountability, it is my honestly held opinion that Mr James and Ms Rees-Jones should both have been sacked over this fiasco four years ago. There’s still time.