Sunday Times journalist’s views are “morally repugnant”, says police boss


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A police boss is reporting Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle to the newspaper industry watchdog because of his “morally repugnant” views about the Welsh language and people.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones has been inundated by complaints about Liddle’s comments in relation to the controversial plan to rename the Severn Bridge and call it the Prince of Wales Bridge instead.

According to Mr Jones, the complaints in his email inbox and on social media have come from people from all political parties who were upset by the “offensive and irresponsible” comments.

He revealed he would be urging the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), to take action against Liddle and the Sunday Times.

The plan to rename the bridge has provoked a massive backlash and a 25,000-name petition opposing the idea, with Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood among the fiercest critics.

Liddle, a former editor of the Today programme on Radio 4, provoked widespread condemnation after he waded into the row.

In his column he said: “The Welsh, or some of them, are moaning that a motorway bridge linking their rain-sodden valley with the First World is to be remained the Prince of Wales Bridge. In honour of the venal, grasping, deranged (if Tom Bower’s new biography is accurate) heir to the throne.

“That Plaid Cymru woman who is always on Question Time has been leading the protests. They would prefer it to be called something indecipherable with now real vowels, such as Ysgythysggymlngwchgwch Bryggy.

“Let them have their way. So long as it allows people to get out the place pronto, should we worry about what it’s called?”

More than 1,000 people have so far reacted on Twitter to Mr Liddle’s column, with some calling it “racist” and “outrageous”.

Mr Jones said: “North Wales Police have carried out an assessment and have come to the conclusion that no criminal offence has taken place.

“However, that does not change the fact that the views expressed in the Sunday Times are morally repugnant and an absolute disgrace.

“The people who’ve contacted me come from across the political divide. Whatever their party allegiances, they are saying with one voice that if this article had been written in relation to Jewish people, or any other race,  it would quite rightly be deemed to be totally unacceptable.

“For some reason, the sneering classes in London believe that Wales is fair game.

“I agree his shock jock approach to journalism is offensive and irresponsible. “I will be submitting a complaint to the IPSO and would encourage others to do so.  Such behaviour cannot be left unchallenged”

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