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HomeUKWelsh 'never trust a Tory' bishop retires due to ill health

Welsh ‘never trust a Tory’ bishop retires due to ill health


The Church of Wales’s first female bishop – who sparked controversy by writing “never trust a Tory” on Twitter – has resigned after two years of sick leave with a “constant migraine”.

Joanna Penberthy apologized after posting the tweet in March 2021 and vowed to delete her social media account. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby later said he was “deeply embarrassed” by her post and Conservative MPs called for her to resign.

Church of Wales leaders have now announced that Dr Penberthy, 62, will step down in July citing ill health.

At the time of the political row, Dr. Penberthy initially took a month’s leave; however, this was extended to four months. The diocese then announced that Dr Penberthy would be “returning to work in phases”, but another period of sick leave was announced in August 2022.

This week, Dr. Penberthy said her ill health is affecting her ability to perform her demanding role in the diocese.

“This is not a decision I made lightly,” she said in a statement. “The migraines, which I have lived with constantly, have negatively impacted my ability to function at the level necessary to fulfill my role.”

In announcing her retirement, the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev. Andrew John, said Dr Penberthy’s contribution to the Church in Wales had been significant.

“She has made significant contributions to church life, particularly on environmental issues and with our social responsibility network,” he said. “A decision like this is never easy to make.”

Dr. Penberthy had previously expressed her anti-Brexit and anti-conservative views with her 3,287 Twitter followers.

Her Twitter account contains the abbreviations GTTO and FBPE – which stands for “Get The Tories Out and Follow Back Pro European”.

Dr. Penberthy wrote: “Never, never, never trust a Tory” in response to a Tweet about Welsh devolution and the future of the Welsh Parliament.

In a later statement, she said: “On March 25, 2021, I posted a private tweet about Conservative Party supporters that has caused offense and for which I sincerely apologise.

The tweet was in response to another tweet claiming that the Conservative Party was planning to abolish the Senedd.

“I recognize that while there are those within the Conservative Party who oppose Welsh devolution, it is not Conservative Party policy to abolish the Senedd and I should have checked all the facts before tweeting.

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