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Welsh bishop closes Twitter account and apologises after saying 'never trust a Tory'

by Cara Bentley
Joanna-Penberthy-full_galleryfull.jpg header3.jpg - Banner image

Dr Joanna Penberthy, the Bishop of St Davids in Wales, has closed her Twitter account after a series of political messages, with the Church in Wales diocese saying it is pleased she has "acknowledged the hurt and damage she has caused."

Although the bishop's brief Twitter bio said "All views are personal", she has apologised for offending Conservative voters by saying "never never never trust a Tory". 

She has previously written that she is ashamed of everyone in Britain who votes Conservative and had hashtags in her username such as #GTTO - Get the Tories Out - and #FBPE - Follow Back Pro-Eu, indicating she will connect with other Remainers online. 

This week, she apologised, saying: "On March 25th 2021 I put out a private tweet about Conservative Party supporters which has caused offence and for which I sincerely apologise. The tweet was in response to another tweet which claimed that the Conservative Party was planning to abolish the Senedd. I acknowledge that while there may be those within the Conservative Party who oppose Welsh devolution, it is not the policy of the Conservative Party to abolish the Senedd and I should have checked all the facts before tweeting. I, of course, trust and have trusted many Conservatives and know there are many honourable people in that party.

"I further apologise for other tweets I have posted which have caused upset and offence. While I hold strong political views, I have expressed them on Twitter in a way which was both irresponsible and disrespectful and I deeply regret this.  I have now closed my account down."

The Church in Wales put out a statement too, saying: "The Church in Wales expects all its clergy to engage robustly in public life. However, they need to do so in a way which is respectful, responsible and fair, acknowledging the breadth and diversity of political opinion within the Church. We do not support intemperate claims or poorly informed commentary and we urge all clergy to recognise that, as public office holders, there should be no expectation that personal views will be regarded as private.

"The Bishop of St Davids’ strong political views are well known. We recognise that she has apologised for causing offence and are pleased she has acknowledged the hurt and damage she has caused and deactivated her personal Twitter account."

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