Conservative councillor withdraws from party in Haverfordwest after alleged slavery comments

Video report from Hamish Auskerry.

A Conservative councillor has withdrawn from the party and referred himself to the watchdog after allegedly making slave comments.

Andrew Edwards, the Conservative councillor for Haverfordwest's Prendergast ward, is claimed to have made the comment in a recording.

He is also a self-employed hair dresser, magistrate, primary school governor, licensee of a Swansea pub and restaurant, and a Freemason.

It is understood that recording was then sent to Pembrokeshire County Council's monitoring officer.

Stand Up to Racism West Wales has demanded that he is suspended from the Conservative Party with immediate effect. Credit: PA Images.

Welsh publication Nation Cymru reports that Mr Edwards said in the recording: "Nothing wrong with the skin colour at all. I think all white men should have a black man as a slave, or black woman as a slave, you know.

"There's nothing wrong with skin colour, it's just that they're lower class than us white people, you know."

The context of the recording itself is not yet known.

Mr Edwards, who became a councillor after last year's elections, neither confirmed nor denied the allegation when asked by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

What has Andrew Edwards said since?

Instead, he confirmed a previously-issued written statement which said: "I am aware of such serious allegations being made against me.

"This is why I have self-referred to the Public Services Ombudsman for an independent evaluation."

He added: "It is now in the hands of legal experts and the Ombudsman."

Leader of the Conservative group at Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr Di Clements, said: "I was made aware of the allegation and spoke with Cllr Edwards. He then self-referred to the Ombudsman.

"Considering the nature of the allegations he withdrew from the Conservative group on PCC this morning.

"There will be no further comment until the outcome of the Ombudsman's investigation."

'Worst example'

Stand Up to Racism West Wales has said Mr Evans is the "worst example of a School Governor" it has "come across" and "he should not be allowed to be in a position where he has contact with impressionable school children ever again."

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman said: "We are aware of an allegation being made and have referred the matter to the Ombudsman. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

It is expected any decision on a formal investigation by the Ombudsman will take several weeks, with the matter either referred to the county council's own standards committee or to the Adjudication Panel for Wales.