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Pressure mounts on McEvoy to step aside; Libel action hangs over city councillor.

Byline: David James

THE Tories are calling for Cardiff council's deputy leader tostep aside while he faces a pounds 50,000 claim for libel.

Conservative group leader David Walker was using today's full council meeting to demand Plaid's Neil McEvoy's effective suspension for the duration of the case.

Councillor McEvoy, who was elected inMay, has been handed a writ on behalf of the Labour ex-councillor he ousted last month claiming compensation for allegedly defamatory remarks in campaign literature.

Tory Coun Walker said that the libel action was damaging the city's reputation and has put for warda question to council leader RodneyBerman calling on him to ask Coun McEvoy to step aside.

He said: "I fear that this court case could further damage the council's reputation, particularly as its deputy leader is implicated. This political position is the second most senior in the council.

"So I am suggesting to council leader Rodney Berman that he should ask Coun McEvoy to step aside while he defends this action and resume his duties, depending on the outcome, when the case concludes."

The claim against Coun McEvoy is based on allegedly defamatory statements made in Plaid literature in Fairwater about former Labour councillor Michael Michael, left.

They relate to the long-standing controversy over councillors' allowances and Mr Michael's alleged development plans.

Coun McEvoy, who is the leader of the Plaid group on the city council, rejected the Tories' call for him to step aside.

He said: "This is a cheap shot. It's more of a reflection on David Walker and the Conservatives than me.

"Since last week, I have had a tremendous amount of support from the community, from people who know me and what I am about.

"I hope this will be resolved as soon as possible and in the meantime I will continue working 100% for the council."

david.james@mediawales.co.uk

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STANDING FIRM: Neil McEvoy; DEMANDS: Tory group leader David Walker
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 26, 2008
Words:323
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