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Cardiff councillor steps down amid renewed sexism claims

Sue White in a Cardiff council meeting
  • This article has been updated: Read it here

ANOTHER female councillor from Cardiff’s Labour group has stepped down amid accusations of sexism.

Llandaff North councillor Sue White is the third female councillor to resign from the group this year following former colleagues Gretta Marshall (Splott), who has since joined Plaid Cymru and Siobhan Corria (also Llandaff North).

Ms Marshall, who resigned from Labour for the second time in March of this year, later said: “There is a culture of bullying and harassment in Labour that just isn’t being addressed. How many female councillors do they have to lose before they do something about it?

“The only support I was getting was actually from Plaid’s Neil McEvoy and that’s why I’m happy to join such a supportive group of councillors. To all the female Labour councillors suffering in silence I’d encourage them not to put up with it anymore.”

Speaking to Wales Online following her resignation in August, Ms Corria said: “There needs to be some serious changes to the attitudes to women in public life. I don’t want to represent a party that is happy to smear its own members.”

While Ms White has so far remained silent about her motives for standing down yesterday, opposition councillors have suggested that the issues highlighted by her former colleagues remain.

Plaid Cymru AM and fairwater councillor Neil Mcevoy said today: “There is a lot of sexist bullying on the council. It is a big cultural problem.”

Ms White’s departure follows a council meeting last week in which she was in disagreement with her own party over a Plaid Cymru motion involving a Butetown drug centre.

She had seconded the motion from Labour councillor Iona Gordon to proceed to next business. But when the vote on the motion took place, the Chamber, including their fellow Labour councillors, voted against it.

News of Ms White’s departure was greeted with sadness by other women on the council.

Fenella Bowden, Independent party councillor for Heath, said:  “It’s disappointing to see another female councillor leave.

“It is a bitter blow and a shame for equality. Women are really underrepresented in local government.”

Jayne Cowan, Conservative councillor for Rhiwbina said that the event probably caused “huge embarrassment” for Iona Gordon and Sue White and that it was “highly unusual” for a councillor to want to skip the discussion of a motion.

She tweeted:

 

Speaking to The Cardiffian today, Ms Corria said: “I have heard the allegations from Neil McEvoy about sexism within the Cardiff Labour group.

“I have to make it clear that I resigned in August 2016, due to the consistent failure of the Welsh Labour General Secretary, Dave Hagendyk to investigate my complaints.”

Ms White’s resignation has resulted in Cardiff Labour being reduced to 40 seats with a majority of only six. No by-election will take place.

Cardiff Labour has been contacted for a comment.

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