HOMOPHOBIC. Racist. Misogynistic. Angela Rayner’s 2021 stark description of the Conservative Party.

She could add ‘classist’ to the list after the the most recent crass remarks made against her, but we’ll leave intersectionality to another day.

Amidst the blustering of Boris Johnson, homophobe, racist and misogynist-in-chief of the Tory party, no woman, politician or otherwise, from whichever party or walk of life, no matter her age, will be surprised by the comments made by the cowards hiding behind the gutter press

Fifty-six MPs, including three cabinet ministers and two shadow cabinet ministers, have been reported to the Independent Complaints and Grievance scheme for sexual misconduct, set up in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Tory Neil Parish has admitted watching porn in the Commons chamber and in committee. Whatever next?

And so we call out misogyny again and again but nothing seems to change. Rape convictions are down. Domestic abuse is up. Meanwhile men in high places continue to hold anachronistic, predatory views yet claim the authority to represent women. 

READ MORE: Welsh MPs report abuse as one told she's a 'secret weapon as men want to sleep with her'

Misogyny is rife in all political parties and, like all public bodies, Plaid Cymru has a vetting system designed to filter out those whose views should exclude them from any role in public life. Yet still they get through. We have codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures in place but they are failing women.

I was involved in making a complaint against a Plaid Cymru councillor who publicly attacked Women’s Aid. He went on to become an AM and was subsequently suspended again. There was no way back for him under my leadership after an adjudication panel found he’d bullied a female council employee*.

There were other examples of misogyny from local to national level that we confronted and dealt with as best we could with the tools we had.

Our disciplinary procedures did result in the suspension of one of our MPs* after he accepted a police caution for common assault against his wife in 2020. If Plaid Cymru is serious about stamping out misogyny and domestic abuse, there can be no way back for him either.

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Apart from stating the obvious that a man who has assaulted a woman gives up any right to represent women, the message of permanent exclusion would be a positive one and signal change.

It would set Plaid Cymru apart.

The party has attracted an excellent team of young women and we want them to stay. Who knows, maybe we could attract more women to stand for all levels of government. If more women joined and became active in politics, we could begin to change the culture within the party and beyond.

Men have a part to play. First by calling out misogyny when they see it. Second by listening to women who are speaking out about misogyny. Third don’t dismiss what you hear. Fourth act now.

* Neil McEvoy 

* Jonathan Edwards 

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