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Wales ombudsman official suspended after Tory abuse

Woman typing
The messages broke guidance by being neither impartial or independent [Getty Images]

An investigator at the public services ombudsman for Wales has been suspended for posting anti-Conservative abuse.

It follows reports of a series of posts made on social media by Sinead Cook, including one using offensive language.

The ombudsman's office investigates complaints made by the public about public bodies and councillors which are accused of breaking their code of conduct.

Two of its guiding principles include impartiality and independence.

Welsh Conservatives called on the ombudsman to re-examine past cases to ensure they have been fairly dealt with.

In a statement, the office of the ombudsman said: "Further to allegations made last week, a team manager was suspended on Friday.

"They had not managed our councillor code of conduct team since last summer."

Welsh Conservatives welcomed the suspension, but said there were still some unanswered questions.

Sam Rowland, the spokesperson on local government, said: "The hateful comments from someone with such seniority in the ombudsman office were shocking.

"It was deeply concerning that such a prejudicial attitude was on display, especially when the expectation of the office is to conduct itself with dignity, respect and fairness.

"Whilst it is welcome that the person in question has been suspended, it raises the question of her past discretions and the oversight of the organisation.

"The ombudsman must now trawl through past cases to ensure that they have been dealt with fairly."

A spokesperson for the Welsh government said the ombudsman was appointed by the Crown after a Senedd recommendation.

"The Welsh government has no role in their appointment nor any oversight of how they exercise their function."