1. ITV Report

UKIP Assembly leader faces Senedd ban over video depicting Labour AM as barmaid

Gareth Bennett faces a one week ban from the Senedd for breaching the Assembly's dignity and respect policy. Credit: Senedd TV

Assembly members will be asked later this week to ban UKIP's Gareth Bennett from the Senedd for seven days. It's the recommendation of the standards committee following an investigation into a video that Mr Bennett posted online, entitled "The Rabid Dogs of Brexit". In it he portrayed the Labour AM Joyce Watson as a barmaid.

Mid and West Wales AM Joyce Watson was depicted as a barmaid in Gareth Bennett's video. Credit: Senedd TV

The introduction to the video on Mr Bennett’s Facebook page was as follows: This is the Labour Party Assembly member who has called UKIP Wales AMs ‘Rabid Dogs’. Is this the kind of person you REALLY want to represent YOU in the Welsh Assembly?

Close to the start of the video is the following text: Joyce once ran a pub in Pembrokeshire but you wouldn’t guess that from looking at her. She doesn’t look like the life and soul of the party. I’m not sure I would fancy popping in for a quick one at the local if I saw her pulling pints behind the bar.

The imagery supporting that text shows Mr Bennett as narrator, a head and shoulders image of Mrs Watson and then pans upwards showing the torso of a narrow waisted heavily corseted, buxom beer maid in traditional Bavarian dress with Mrs Watson’s head and shoulders superimposed.

– Report of the Acting Assembly Standards Commissioner

The Acting Standards Commissioner, Douglas Bain, found that Mr Bennett had breached the Assembly's Dignity and Respect policy. Mr Bain was brought in as Acting Commissioner after an initial finding by the Standards Commissioner that the video was not sexist.

Gareth Bennett is a member of the standards committee, although he played no part in considering the report into his conduct. It's recommended that in addition to the one week ban he is replaced as a committee member. Mr Bennett walked out of his first interview with the standards commissioner and the committee says he should pay the £500 cost of arranging a second interview.