A TORY AM who branded parts of Gwent like the Third World and Eastern Europe in the Assembly has told the Argus he did nothing wrong.
Mohammad Asghar yesterday said he hadn’t tried to compare the people in the Valleys county of Blaenau Gwent to the Third World but suggested parts of the area were like it.
The Newport-based former Plaid politician had suggested the Welsh Government had turned parts of South Wales East into a developing or post-communist country in a debate on Wednesday.
Labour First minister Carwyn Jones and the AM for Blaenau Gwent, natural resources minister Alun Davies, had condemned the comments – claiming that Mr Asghar had referred to the north Valleys county.
Mr Davies had called on Mr Asghar to apologise, but the South Wales East Conservative AM told the Argus: “For what? I never did anything wrong. I never said anything that was offensive.”
Mr Asghar claimed he “never said Blaenau Gwent is a third world country. I never compared the people there. The places yes, but not the people. The people shouldn’t be offended by that.”
The Argus asked him to clarify if he meant that he thought parts of Blaenau Gwent are like the Third World. “Yes,” he said.
“Health and education are not there. The jobs are not there,” he said.
Mr Asghar blamed the Welsh Government for the problems in Blaenau Gwent, saying he was criticising the Welsh Government’s record: “The government hasn’t given them the opportunity.”
The Welsh Conservatives had said on Wednesday that after 15 years of successive Labour governments and the misspending of £4 billion of EU aid, Blaenau Gwent and other Valleys communities remain among the very poorest parts of Europe.