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UK News

Bishop who tweeted 'never trust a tory' placed on sick leave amid calls for resignation

by Kelly Valencia

The Church in Wales has announced the Bishop of St David's is on sick leave just as pressure grows on her to resign. 

In a letter addressed to clergy in her diocese, the archdeacons said Dr Joanna Penberthy felt "unwell" and "on the advice of her doctor, will be away from work for the next month".

It comes after Dr Penberthy posted a tweet saying 'never, never trust a tory' for which she has closed her Twitter account and apologised saying she "acknowledged the hurt and damage she has caused."

Archdeacons Paul Mackness, Dorrien Davies, Eileen Davies and Mones Farah went on to explain that Dr Penberthy's office will remain open and said that efforts were being made to ensure "that Bishop Joanna's apology is heard". 

"Please be assured that the Bench of Bishops, supported by national and diocesan officers are engaging with both Welsh and UK Governments to ensure that Bishop Joanna's apology is heard and that steps are taken to restore damaged relationships," they said.

"Please pray for the Bench, for those advising them, for your Archdeacons but especially for Bishop Joanna. We are holding you all in our prayers," the letter continued. 

Last week, the Welsh Secretary, Simon Hart wrote to The Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Bangor about "the Bishop of St Davids' unacceptable Twitter activity" and asked what plans were in place "to ensure that such situations can be avoided in the future". 

The Archbishop of Canterbury replied saying he added his apology and was "deeply embarrassed by the use of such a language by a church leader". 

The Bishop of Bangor, who is acting as head of The Church in Wales, said: "I add my apology on behalf of the Church in Wales; I regret the intemperate language that she used and the hurt it caused. I have spoken with the bishop and believe her to be sincere in her apology and that she wishes to improve the way in which her ministry operates in the public domain.

"It is clear to me that bishops cannot make distinctions between personal and public statements when both are publicly available. It is also clear that bishops require advice and support which enables us to be effective in our ministry and it is my intention to secure this in consultation with my colleagues."

Conservative MP for West Dorset, Chris Loder, has also called for Dr Penberthy to step down

"She is a disgrace and should resign", he said in a Tweet. 

You can read all correspondence between The Welsh Secretary of State and the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Bangor here.

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