Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies under further pressure to go over Circuit of Wales row

UNDER PRESSURE: Blaenau Gwent AM and minister Alun Davies

UNDER PRESSURE: Blaenau Gwent AM and minister Alun Davies

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THE AM for Blaenau Gwent came under continued pressure yesterday over the Circuit of Wales row amid further calls for Alun Davies to return to the backbenches.

Opposition AMs quizzed the First Minister Carwyn Jones in the Senedd over advice given to the Blaenau Gwent AM not to comment on the Rassau racetrack planning application.

The issue isn’t going to go away and the three Assembly opposition leaders have all signed a motion calling for a debate that could take place next Wednesday.

Carwyn Jones previously told the Senedd on Tuesday that Alun Davies had breached the ministerial code over contact he had with Natural Resources Wales in 2013 over the £280 million Circuit of Wales project, following an inquiry by permanent secretary Sir Derek Jones into the matter.

But Mr Jones said the breaches were not serious enough to justify Mr Davies being removed from his post.

Alun Davies apologised on Tuesday.

NRW, which Mr Davies is responsible for, had been objecting to a planning application for the scheme but dropped their objections last August.

Tory leader of the opposition Andrew RT Davies said yesterday: “It doesn’t matter now whether he is sacked, or whether he resigns but – I regret – Mr Davies must return to the backbenches.”

Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said: “Alun Davies should have done the honourable thing and resigned. As that hasn’t happened, the First Minister must take swift action to remove him from his position.”

Plaid’s Simon Thomas asked an urgent question in the Senedd chamber about advice given to Mr Davies that he shouldn’t comment on matters relating to the Circuit of Wales, as claimed in the report by permanent secretary Sir Derek.

The First Minister said: “This advice didn’t come from me, it was excessive in terms of what it says, it goes further then what was required by the ministerial code”.

Mr Thomas asked if Mr Jones: “if he still believes in the merits of his minister” following the report’s publication, to which Mr Jones said he did.

“He might have made it clearer that he was acting on behalf of constituents,” the first minister later said, but added that NRW were still objecting to the project a month later after the correspondence, on July 16.

Alun Davies held his regular ministerial question time in the Senedd yesterday, where Tory AM Russell George asked: “How can my constituents have the confidence that you are not promoting projects in your own constituency over that in other constituencies?”

Plaid’s business manager, Elin Jones AM, said: “At this point we have little confidence that the First Minister has taken the significant breaches of the code by the Minister for Natural Resources seriously enough.”

Simon Thomas told the Argus he thinks there are two reasons why Carwyn Jones is protecting the Blaenau Gwent AM.

“One is the government supports the project, they wouldn’t want anything to happen that would increase the likelihood of a judicial review,” he said.

“The second reason is political – he’s lost one very good communicator in Leighton Andrew. He doesn’t want to lose another.”

Comments (3)

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7:45pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Abertillery29 says...

The days of politicians resigning when they have done something wrong are long gone. I don't think an apology is enough and I also think that the First Minister should have sacked him. Surely Mr Davies should have made it crystal clear in his letter that he was acting on behalf of his constituency and not as a minister or representative of another organisation.
The days of politicians resigning when they have done something wrong are long gone. I don't think an apology is enough and I also think that the First Minister should have sacked him. Surely Mr Davies should have made it crystal clear in his letter that he was acting on behalf of his constituency and not as a minister or representative of another organisation. Abertillery29
  • Score: 3

8:39pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Julesblaina1 says...

Tory AM Russell George should not be concerned that Alun Davies is putting Blaenau Gwent Constituents before other areas. He has done jack **** for Blaenau Gwent only prop up the local pubs and off licences after he has finished his days ''work''
Tory AM Russell George should not be concerned that Alun Davies is putting Blaenau Gwent Constituents before other areas. He has done jack **** for Blaenau Gwent only prop up the local pubs and off licences after he has finished his days ''work'' Julesblaina1
  • Score: 3

9:31am Thu 3 Jul 14

varteg1 says...

Why has this proposed race track not been subjected to an 'independent' inquiry under an independent inspector.

I know it's not coal related but it is a massive earthmoving exercise that will without doubt kick up as much if n ot more dust and atmospheric pollution from particulate and diesel fumes as any small scale opencast operation.

But then even if an inquiry was set up, I suppose like in the case of the proposed Varteg opencast scheme, Carl Sargent would stick his oar in and put it on hold, forcing the operators to re submit, which simply has delayed the scheme.

Then again after both would be completed, in Varteg we would get a refurbished quiet and pleasant landscape, whereas in Blaenau they would forever more be blighted by regular traffic movements as potentially thousands attend meetings, which themselves would generate vast amounts of pollution, general nuisance, to both homes and business for evermore. There would be no let up.

So were is Sargent on this, he denies the inspector on the Varteg matter, but stands back on the Blaenau matter,.

Hypocrisy rules.
Why has this proposed race track not been subjected to an 'independent' inquiry under an independent inspector. I know it's not coal related but it is a massive earthmoving exercise that will without doubt kick up as much if n ot more dust and atmospheric pollution from particulate and diesel fumes as any small scale opencast operation. But then even if an inquiry was set up, I suppose like in the case of the proposed Varteg opencast scheme, Carl Sargent would stick his oar in and put it on hold, forcing the operators to re submit, which simply has delayed the scheme. Then again after both would be completed, in Varteg we would get a refurbished quiet and pleasant landscape, whereas in Blaenau they would forever more be blighted by regular traffic movements as potentially thousands attend meetings, which themselves would generate vast amounts of pollution, general nuisance, to both homes and business for evermore. There would be no let up. So were is Sargent on this, he denies the inspector on the Varteg matter, but stands back on the Blaenau matter,. Hypocrisy rules. varteg1
  • Score: 2

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