Gwynedd councillor suspended for 'disrespectful' emails written in German

A probe found it was "disrespectful" to the complainant's Welsh cultural identity and the Welsh language. Credit: Gwynedd Council/stock

A councillor has been suspended for a month after replying to two Welsh language emails - in German.

Independent Gwynedd councillor Louise Hughes sent the messages to a member of a language campaign group and he made an official complaint.

Councillor Hughes, born in Germany, has now been suspended by a council standards committee after the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales decided to conduct an investigation.

She said: "I have been very upset and stressed by this whole process. I feel criminalised and persecuted. I am not a horrible person.

"I made a mistake and I apologised. I speak good German."

She added: "I would never knowingly offend anyone, it’s not in my nature. But he was offended and the ombudsman deemed it in the public interest to launch a full investigation.

"I hope this will be the end of it. I have learned my lesson."

A probe found it was "disrespectful to Mr (Howard) Huws, his Welsh cultural identity and also the Welsh language itself."

Howard Huws, a member of Cylch yr Iaith, a group promoting the Welsh language, said the email was "an official business matter and I expected the person to respond and behave as is appropriate for someone who is a member of a public body."

The council said: "It was alleged that the member had behaved inappropriately by responding in German to two emails written in Welsh.

"Cyngor Gwynedd’s standards committee decided that councillor Hughes failed to comply with the Code of Conduct for Members."