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Cllr David Simpson: ‘I wasn’t sacked, I resigned’

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Cllr Jamie Adams: Simpson says he is 'a capable boy with bad judgement'

Cllr Jamie Adams: Simpson says he is ‘a capable boy with bad judgement’

THE HERALD can reveal the story behind the shock departure of popular and respected County Councillor David Simpson from the Council Cabinet. In an official statement, the Council have claimed he was sacked. Councillor Simpson, however, a Justice of the Peace, told The Herald that the truth is that he resigned.

CLLR SIMPSON: ‘I RESIGNED!’

CONCERN about the conduct of a fellow Cabinet member was one of the reasons why David Simpson decided to step down from the Cabinet and leave the IPPG.

Councillor Simpson described the efforts of Cllr Rob Lewis to derail the investigatory committee into Bryn Parry Jones as the key reason for his decision to resign.

Speaking with our assistant editor Jon Coles on Friday afternoon after his departure from the Housing portfolio he has held for eight years, Councillor Simpson said:

“I decided to go that because of some of the things that have gone on. Two members came to me, Peter Morgan and Mark Edwards: Mark was very, very concerned that Cllr Rob Lewis the Deputy Leader was trying to intimidate Peter; particularly that pressure was being applied to stop Peter appearing before the Committee (investigating CEO Bryn Parry Jones) next Monday. Rob Lewis was doing his best to dissuade Peter from attending.

“I had heard about this over the preceding days while I had been away on holiday. I met with Peter and Mark yesterday evening and what they said was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I made a decision then that I would resign.”

Cllr David Simpson: "the straightest and best man on the whole Council", said Cllr Peter Morgan

Cllr David Simpson: “the straightest and best man on the whole Council”, said Cllr Peter Morgan

The Herald spoke to The Havens representative Peter Morgan about what David Simpson had told us.

Cllr Morgan told The Herald: “David is the straightest and best man on the whole Council. If there was ever anyone you want to talk to about a problem you are having, it is him; everyone on the Council will tell you that about him. Pembrokeshire County Council can’t afford to do without him.”

He added: “I spoke with David last night and said that Rob Lewis has spoken to me about appearing before the investigatory committee. My position is that pressure won’t work on me. I will do what is right. When I spoke to Jamie Adams last night, I told him the same thing.”

Pembrokeshire Herald readers will recall that it was Cllr Rob Lewis who acted as Bryn Parry-Jones’ intermediary when Peter Morgan and Mark Edwards were summoned to meet the CEO and subjected to a foul-mouthed tirade for voting that he should be asked to return money paid to him unlawfully by the Council. Cllr Lewis was also suspended from the Council for his underhand activities in using the Council’s facilities to run the IPPG’s last election campaign. He is widely credited with creating the dodgy dossier handed by Monitoring Officer to Tim Kerr QC ahead of February’s vote of no confidence in Bryn.

The Herald understands that Rob Lewis arranged a meeting between Peter Morgan and Laurence Harding, the Council’s own Monitoring Officer who is supposed to ensure members abide by the Code of Conduct. We understand that the meeting took place in the members’ room at County Hall, where Peter Morgan found the Monitoring Officer waiting to see him.

We put Laurence Harding’s involvement to Peter Morgan, who confirmed: “Laurence Harding met with me to discuss my attendance at the investigatory committee on Monday (Sep 29). He told me that if I didn’t want to attend, if I just left him a signed note it would all be okay and I wouldn’t have to go.”

Monitoring Officer Lawrence Harding: Cllr Simpson said he told him he didn't have to attend Bryn investigation meeting

Monitoring Officer Laurence Harding: Encouraged Cllr Peter Morgan that he could make a written submission instead of being questioned by councillors on Monday’s CEO disciplinary investigation.

 

“CABINET HAVE BEEN KEPT IN THE DARK”

On the subject of his meeting with Jamie Adams this morning, David Simpson said:

“I met with Jamie Adams, the Leader, this morning (Friday, Sept 26). I have had concerns for several months, if not two years, about the make-up of the Cabinet, about the dissemination of information down to the Cabinet, and the fact that the Cabinet is a two tier system. You have the leader and his two deputies and then the rest of the Cabinet; the rest of the Cabinet are just kept in the dark.

“I have been unhappy with this for the last two years and I have told Jamie that on many occasions and have been dissatisfied. There have been several instances over the last few months that I have been unhappy with.

“Last night, after meeting with Mark and Peter, I spoke to Ian Westley, the acting Head of Service, to tell him of my resignation. I also phoned Lyn Hambidge, who has been especially supportive during my time in Housing. She was vital to the achievement of my first goal in housing, which was to drive down the amount the Council was paying in bed and breakfast for homeless people. That was over a million pounds a year when I started and I think was under £20,000 last year.”

County Hall: News of Simpson's departure from cabinet a shock to many

County Hall: News of Simpson’s departure from cabinet a shock to many

HOW ADAMS SPUN THE NEWS

When The Herald discussed the morning’s events with David Simpson, a very different picture emerged than that reported by the Council. Cllr Simpson told us:

“I met with the leader this morning. He told me he was getting rid of the two deputies, which is something I had hoped for, although I was disappointed they were remaining in the Cabinet, and there were also two members coming out of Cabinet. One was David Pugh, which I thought was a good move after the debacle with the grants scheme, and then he informed me that the other one was going to be me. I was aghast and reminded him that I put more hours into my Cabinet role than he did, or any other member of Cabinet and I have never embarrassed him like others have in the past and have been very supportive of him.

Cllr Simpson added: “When the email from Bob Kilmister suggesting that I could be a leader of a “Grand Alliance” came round, I knew nothing about it. I laughed about it really and thought it was a marvellous thing to do – from Bob Kilmister’s point of view – to put the cat among amongst the pigeons.

“I told Jamie that I had not envisaged being sacked and I came here this morning intending to resign – and that can be verified by Ian Westley and Lyn Hambidge – and so I told him, before you ask me to step down, I resign.

“I drove five minutes down the road to County Hall; phoned Sue Sanders, who does administration for members and asked for the form to sign as I was resigning from the Cabinet and the Independent group – I think it was impossible for me to remain in the group and preserve my own integrity – and she said: “Haven’t you looked at the website yet?”

“It was clear everything had been pre-planned, but the fact remains I resigned.

THE DOWNFALL OF THE IPPG

On the subject of the Leader, Cllr Simpson said: “I think Jamie Adams is a very capable boy at public speaking but has a lot of bad judgement in the people he appoints. I haven’t got a lot of time for him anymore. I fully supported that man as leader. I told him I was there to support him. I told him that Cabinet was there to support him. But unfortunately he doesn’t confide in Cabinet.”

“I have told Jamie Adams that under no circumstances would I stand against him. For the last two years I have been asked to stand against him on a number of occasions. On each occasion I have refused because I thought he needed a chance to get on with the job. I have also had disputes with him in as much I do not like some of the decisions and appointments he has made. But I was Cabinet member and he was the leader.”

“I have no intention of starting a campaign for me to be leader against Jamie Adams. I never wanted it. I don’t want it now.”

One of the key points the Justice of the Peace made when we spoke to him he said “I can see the downfall of the Independent group.”

“Brian Hall is trying to form his own group at the moment and he supposedly has several members. If you take three or four people out of the Independent Group plus Brian Hall, you are taking votes away from Jamie and his majority.

“Jamie will lose his position. He is doing it himself. He is on the self-destruct button.

THANKING THE STAFF

“Housing has been my passion for the last eight years. I have been wonderfully supported by the housing staff over the last eight years. I can tell you that everyone in that department gives 110%. They are fantastic and helped make my job a lot easier. Where I go from here I don’t know. Being in the opposition was the furthest thing from my mind in my entire political career.”

The full report of David Simpson’s straight-talking interview will be in next week’s Pembrokeshire Herald: Issue 66, Friday October 3.

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COVID-19 tests being encouraged for wider range of symptoms

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PEOPLE living in Pembrokeshire are being encouraged to have a free COVID-19 test if they have a wider range of symptoms.

Previously, only those with either a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell, were advised to seek a test. The health board is now also encouraging people to have a test if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

The change aims to find hidden COVID-19 cases in our communities and drive down the numbers of onward transmissions.

Identifying infections, which could otherwise go undetected, is particularly important as new variants of the virus emerge. The more tests carried out, the easier it will be to spot early clusters of cases and possible virus mutations. This will help with easing restrictions in the future.

The new testing regime will initially run for at least 28 days and will then be reviewed. Swansea Bay University Health Board is also expanding its offer of testing in this way.

Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies and Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Overall, we are seeing a positive picture across the three counties and there has been a steady fall in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“Also, the demand for tests has come down considerably since the end of 2020, so we have capacity to expand the offer of testing to those with a wider range of symptoms.

“We know the wider group of symptoms do occur in COVID-19 but are not reported as often as the ‘classic three’ symptoms. With the very low rates of flu circulating at the moment, it is more likely that wider flu-like symptoms are due to COVID-19.

“Our aim is to find as many COVID-19 cases as possible so we can prevent the virus being passed on to others. We want to do everything we can to help bring the pandemic to a close as fast as possible and help restrictions to be lifted.”

If you have any of the symptoms outlined above, please stay at home and get a test by booking online via the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

As these are national contacts, you may automatically be asked about the ‘classic three’ symptoms. However, to book your test simply choose either one of these options: “You have been asked to take a test by your local council” or “You are part of a government pilot project”.

Once you have had your test, you must continue to self-isolate until you receive your result, which will usually be within 24 hours of the test. If your result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the date your symptoms started. You will also be contacted by the local Tracing Team.

If your result is negative, you can end your self-isolation, when you feel well enough to do so.

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Dale Morgan charged with murder of Judith Rhead, police confirm

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DYFED POWYS POLICE have charged a man in connection with the alleged murder of 68 year old Judith Rhead who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Saturday (Feb 20).

Dale Morgan, 43, will appear at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court today by video link.

Dale Morgan, in court today

A spokesman for the force said: “Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that Dale Morgan, aged 43, has been charged with the murder of Judith Rhead, aged 68, who was found in a property in Market Street, Pembroke Dock.

“He is due to appear before Llanelli Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday, 25 February).”

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Judith Rhead murder investigation – Detectives given more time to question suspect

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POLICE have been given more time to question a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man has been in police custody since Saturday night, after being arrested over the death 68-year-old Judith Rhead.

She was found in a residential property in Market Street.

The police now have until Thursday afternoon (Feb 25) to question the suspect.

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