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Byline: By PHILLIP NIFIELD South Wales Echo

A row between a rebel Conservative councillor and her party colleagues is rumbling on after she accused them of 'intimidating, humiliating and belittling' her. The claim follows a meeting of Cardiff council's Conservative group which had to be abandoned after suspended Rhiwbina councillor Jayne Cowan refused to leave.

A Conservative source told the Echo last week that Coun Cowan's behaviour had been appalling.

In a statement on behalf of Coun Cowan, Julius Hermer, a consultant solicitor with Robertsons, complained about the leaking of information from group meetings.

'It has to be assumed that such communications to the media are an attempt by certain members of the Conservative group to intimidate, humiliate and belittle our client and to damage her politically.

'Our client did refuse to leave the meeting, although she was threatened with being physically removed by a member.

'But she emphatically denies, and it is ludicrous to suggest, that her behaviour was appalling or that she set out to disrupt the meeting.

'It is also denied that the meeting ended in total chaos as a result of our client's action.

'Jayne Cowan will continue to represent the interests of the residents of the Rhiwbina ward to the best of her ability and will not be bullied.'

But Conservative group leader Councillor Gareth Neale said: 'Jayne's behaviour has been really outrageous.

'In fact, four members have asked that a meeting should be called to discuss Jayne's behaviour on October 17 and it will be for the group to decide what it should do at its next meeting tomorrow .

'It is not true that there was an attempt to physically remove Jayne.': WHO'S SAID WHAT:Jayne Cowan's lawyer Julius Hermer: 'Jayne Cowan is saddened at the 'leaking' of group meetings to the Echo. 'The meeting was an attempt to intimidate, humiliate and belittle her and damage her politically.

'Her suspension was contrary to the rules for council Conservative groups and Jayne Cowan had every right to be present at the meeting.

'Jayne Cowan denies her behaviour was appalling and denies that the meeting ended in total chaos as a result of her action.

' No attempt was made to remove her at a subsequent Conservative group meeting.': Councillor Gareth Neale: 'It would seem 'most inappropriate' for Julius Hermer to represent Jayne Cowan because he was expelled from the Conservative Party for standing against Tory candidates at the last council elections.

'There has been an attempt to bully me by threats of Jayne Cowan and her lawyer to take legal action against me.

'The meeting at which Jayne Cowan was suspended was chaired by a senior officer of the Conservative Party. She was suspended until she apologised, which she has not done. Jayne Cowan's behaviour has been outrageous. 'It is not true that Jayne Cowan was physically threatened at a group meeting.'
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 26, 2005
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