Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies says he should have followed advice on Circuit of Wales project
6:46pm Thursday 3rd July 2014 in Gwent news
THE AM for Blaenau Gwent has told the Argus he should have followed advice not to comment on the Circuit of Wales project.
In an interview Alun Davies appeared to suggest it is “fair comment” for opposition politicians to say it would be better for the Welsh Government for him to go – but he said he should stay on.
The natural resources minister has been at the centre of a storm after emails to Natural Resources Wales emerged of him expressing support for the £280 million Rassau racetrack.
A probe by the permanent secretary Sir Derek Jones followed, and last Tuesday Mr Davies apologised after first minister Carwyn Jones said he had breached the ministerial code, but didn't fire him.
The Argus asked why Mr Davies wasn’t resigning: “It’s not for me to make the judgement on the penalty that is handed down, that’s not a matter for me.”
Pressed further, the Argus suggested that some people might think it would be better for the Welsh Government for him to stand down.
“Clearly you would expect a Plaid Cymru or a Liberal or a Conservative spokesperson to say those things and you know... that’s a fair comment for them to make,” he said.
He later added: “Why do I think that I should continue in post? I think I’ve been doing a good job over the last year and a half”.
The Argus spoke to Mr Davies about a statement made to the newspaper by him about the Circuit of Wales on August 1 2013.
Advice was given to Mr Davies in March 2013 by Welsh Government officials saying he should "not comment on the matter, even in his AM capacity."
"Had I followed the advice, and if you look at what the permanent secretary said in his report, he said had that advice been followed we wouldn’t have been in this situation now," said Mr Davies.
“I accept that advice should have been followed more completely at all times.”
Mr Davies said he accepted Sir Derek’s report and the decision of the first minister.
He said that during his election campaign in 2011 he said he would always put Blaenau Gwent “first, second and third”.
The minister said he felt that at the time of the contact with NRW that he was acting within the ministerial code, but said he "overstepped the mark in what I was trying to do”.
"I made an effort to ensure that I did differentiate between the ministerial and the constituency role... in retrospect I clearly I should have made that more clear."
But he said he was accused of putting undue undue pressure on NRW, which he said clearly hasn't happened.
"NRW have said that, I’ve said that, there’s no evidence that I have,” he said.