Coronavirus: Caerphilly councillor quits over social distancing photos

By Paul Martin
BBC Wales political correspondent

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Image caption, Carl Cuss (back left) and Peter Wong (front right) are councillors in Caerphilly and Cardiff respectively

A councillor in the only part of Wales to be under lockdown has resigned from the authority's cabinet after photos on social media appeared to show him breaking social distancing rules.

Labour's Carl Cuss, who represents Twyn Carno in Caerphilly county, apologised for a "lapse of judgement."

Council leader Philippa Marsden said it was "the right thing to do."

Mr Cuss, who was cabinet member for social care, posted photos on Facebook of him in close contact with others.

Two posts from August have since been deleted.

One showed him with a friend in a Cardiff restaurant while the other was taken on a boat in the Czech Republic with three friends, including Cardiff councillor Peter Wong.

Mr Cuss said: "I have notified the leader of council of my intention to resign from the cabinet with immediate effect.

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for this lapse of judgement and accept that my actions were regrettable during an ongoing global pandemic.

"The council needs to have a complete focus on tackling coronavirus within the community and I recognise that this matter could have become an unnecessary distraction at such a critical time."

Mr Wong told BBC Wales he believed the group had "followed the rules that were in place in the Czech Republic".

Image source, Caerphilly council

Ms Marsden said: "I have accepted Cllr Cuss's resignation and agree it is the right thing for him to do.

"Carl is a dedicated public servant who has worked tirelessly within my cabinet over recent years to serve the community.

"However, we all have a collective and individual responsibility to do everything we can to control the spread of coronavirus.

"Our attention needs to be firmly fixed on protecting our community and this remains my key priority."

The council has consistently warned of the importance of social distancing as infections in the area have risen.

Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly council, said: "He has done the right and only thing he could do and resign from the cabinet."

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