Minister and Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies is sacked by Carwyn Jones
Updated 2:37pm Tuesday 8th July 2014 in News
UPDATE 2.33pm: Carwyn Jones batted away suggestions that Alun Davies should stand down as an AM entirely during First Minister's Questions this afternoon.
“Its a breach of the ministerial code. The minister has lost his job as a result of it. It doesn’t mean he can’t carry on as an AM,” he said.
Welsh Lib Dem leader and a target of the CAP request Kirsty Williams asked if Mr Jones will be withdrawing the whip from Mr Davies. “No,” he said.
UPDATE 2.11pm: There were emotional and angry scenes in the Senedd after the First Minister attacked the leader of the opposition for not attending an event with the Prince of Wales - only for the leader of the opposition to reveal that his mother had suffered a stroke the night before.
Tory opposition leader Andrew RT Davies managed to extract an apology from the first minister Carwyn Jones during a heated and emotional First Ministers Questions.
But later Mr Jones said: "He's had an apology. I think an apology is due. Where was he last week when we all waited to meet the Prince of Wales?
"He did not turn up and did not give an explanation."
Andrew RT Davies, clearly angered by the comment, got up and shouted back that he had been ill and had given his apologies to the event organisers.
"I was also dealing with the stroke that my mother in law had just had the night before first minister. You might well want to consider your position," he said.
Under the noise of the heckling from the Senedd benches, with Rosemary Butler repeatedly calling for order, Carwyn Jones withdrew the remarks.
"I apologise for it.... I extend my condolences to the leader of the opposition," he said.
UPDATE 1.38pm: The post-Alun reshuffle has been announced, Edwina Hart will take over Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in addition to her existing responsibilities. Rebecca Evans AM will become Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.
Newport AM John Griffiths is to take over responsibility for environment policy.
Alun Davies has the support of the Blaenau Gwent Labour party, according to the deputy leader of Blaenau Gwent council Steve Thomas.
Mr Thomas said: “It’s disappointing news for Alun and indeed for Blaenau Gwent, however Alun has the support of the local party and I’m sure he will continue to do all that he can to represent the people of these Valleys with the same commitment that he has shown since becoming our AM.
“The recent situation with the Circuit of Wales is proof that he will always put the people of Blaenau Gwent first.”
In his first comments Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies has told the Argus this morning that he remains "absolutely focused" on his constituency.
Mr Davies said: "I'm remaining absolutely focused on Blaenau Gwent. As I said when I was elected, Blaenau Gwent comes first, second and third."
Mr Davies is facing re-selection during 2014.
Some of the senior Senedd targets of what has been dubbed a "smear campaign" by Alun Davies have reacted angrily this afternoon.
Kirsty Williams, Welsh Lib Dem leader, said: “The actions of Alun Davies as a minister are atrocious and completely unacceptable for anyone serving in public office. The fact that Alun Davies used his ministerial office to start a smear campaign against those that dared to hold him to account is disgraceful."
Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Tory leader, accused Mr Davies of trying to damage his family business, and drew parallels with the notorious activities of Damian McBride.
He said: "I am absolutly disgusted - this isn't about me, I'm part of a family farming business where my brother, my wife, my two young sons who are keen to come into that farming business, he was seeking to try and cause damage, maybe even destroy that business if he so chose by using privileged accessed information.
He added: "This falls back on the first minister's judgement. If he got rid of the minister last Tuesday as he had every opportunity to get rid of him, then on the Wednesday morning these emails were going out, that minister wouldn't have been in place to do this.
"Ultimately how can this man even continue to be a member of this institution when he is breached so much trust and confidence and sought to bring the worst excesses of Damian McBridge and the Gordon Brown era in Westminister into Welsh Politics?"
The Argus understands that the first minister was extremely angry and disappointed with what has come to light.
A Welsh Government source said: "The first minister was both extremely angry and disappointed by what came to light and was firmly of the view that there was no room for this sort of politics in the Welsh Government."
The requests for information all related to Tory leader Andrew RT Davies, Tory AM Antionette Sandbach, Lib Dem AMs William Powell, Kirsty Williams and Plaid AM Llyr Gryffudd and how much they receive in EU farming payments, known as the CAP.
It is assumed that the information was to be used during a hearing in the Senedd.
He made the initial request the day after the First Minister announced the results of an inquiry which found Mr Davies broke the ministerial code over the Circuit of Wales, with Carwyn Jones not firing him.
Advice came back that that was inappropriate, but Mr Davies then made a further verbal request for the information, it is understood.
Emails show that Mr Davies' office got in touch with Mr Jones' office on July 4, expressing concerns that ministers must not use the Welsh Government's resources for party-political purposes.
A replacement for Mr Davies is expected later today.
ALUN Davies, the minister who was at the centre of a row over Ebbw Vale's Circuit of Wales racetrack has been sacked by First Minister Carwyn Jones.
In a statement, the First Minister said Alun Davies had been asked to "leave the government" after "a number of e-mails" showed he had asked "the civil service to give him private information about the financial interests of a number of Members of this Chamber."
The statement continued: "In recent days communications between the Minister for Natural and Resources and Food and civil servants in his division have been drawn to my attention. The emails indicate that the Minister asked the civil service to give him private information about the financial interests of a number of Members of this Chamber. These relate to CAP payments made to these individuals.
"I believe that these requests were poorly judged, inappropriate and the fact that they were made at all is unacceptable to me as First Minister. As a result, I have asked the Minister for Natural Resources and Food to leave the government.
"I made this decision with some regret and would like to record my appreciation for the contribution that Alun Davies has undoubtedly made to the work of the government during his time in office."
E-mail trail between Alun Davies and civil servant: