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Church in Wales
Dr Joanna Penberthy.png
Church in Wales
World News

Welsh bishop who tweeted ‘never trust a Tory’ retires due to ill health

by Kelly Valencia

The Church in Wales’ first female bishop, who was heavily criticised for tweeting “never trust a Tory”, has stepped down from her role due to ill health.

In 2021, Dr Joanna Penberthy tweeted, “never never never trust a Tory” in response to another post on social media claiming the Conservative party was planning on abolishing the Welsh Senedd in Cardiff.

Her tweet sparked immediate controversy, with the Archbishop of Canterbury saying he was “deeply embarrassed” by her post.

She then apologised and vowed to close her social media account. A few weeks later, the diocese of St David’s announced Dr Penberthy had been placed on sick leave for a month but this was prolonged for several more months. 

Now, Dr Penberthy has announced she will step down from her role in July as her ill health is affecting her capability to carry out her role.

“This is not a decision I have taken lightly,” she said in a statement.

“The migraine, with which I have been living constantly, has adversely affected my ability to function at the level required to fulfil my role.”

The Archbishop of Wales, Most Rev Andrew John, thanked Dr Penberthy for her ministry.

“She has contributed significantly to areas of church life in particular on environmental matters and with our Social Responsibility network,” Archbishop Andrew said.

Dr Penberthy became the first female bishop in the Church in Wales in 2017, having worked in the dioceses of Durham, Llandaff, St Asaph, Bath and Wells, Swansea and Brecon.

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