/FMQs: But his e-mails….

FMQs: But his e-mails….



FMQs, 30th January 2018

Leader of the Opposition, Andrew RT Davies AM (Con, South Wales Central): Carl Sargeant Reshuffle Leaks

The first inquiry findings into the events leading up to the death of Carl Sargeant were released last week and found no unauthorised leaking. It was quite clear on Twitter that some people knew what was happening and were using language that indicated certainty in what was happening. Was the First Minister confident there was no authorised leaking and will that report be made available, perhaps in a redacted form?

The First Minister was indeed confident there was no authorised leaking. It was important the identities of those who gave evidence is protected as well provide confidence to future witnesses in the other inquiries that they will remain anonymous – therefore he didn’t support releasing the report. “Twitter is not evidence. Twitter is gossip….I deal in evidence”.

Verdict: Hit – Come off it!

Neil Hamilton AM (UKIP, Mid & West Wales): Automation & Immigration

A recent report suggests 112,000 jobs could be at risk in the southern Welsh cities from automation and automation is generally likely to affect areas already impacted by post-industrialisation. What plans do the Welsh Government have to address this? It was, therefore, even more important to control the flow of immigration, which would perhaps necessitate leaving the EU single market.

Automation has been included in the Welsh Government’s economic plan and has been recognised “as something we have to deal with”. The First Minister didn’t accept the argument that immigration should be kerbed as it would jeopardise Welsh exports.

Verdict: Miss – Neil should’ve focused on one topic.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM (Plaid, Ynys Môn): Private involvement in healthcare

Filling in for Leanne Wood, Rhun’s constituents have reportedly been encouraged to go private for faster diagnoses and to avoid waiting times for treatment. He feared this was creating a two-tier health service based on ability to pay. There are plans to privatise/outsource dialysis services in north Wales to save £700,000. Surely we all want an NHS fit for patients and staff and that, without being ideological, doesn’t see private companies profiting from it.

The Welsh Government are completely against privatisation of health and the First Minister wasn’t aware of any plans to outsource services. Labour will always be ideological on the health service and while services are privatised in England they’ll be public in Wales.

Verdict: Hit – Caught Carwyn out.

Backbenchers

Adam Price AM (Plaid, Carms. E & Dinefwr): What guidance has the Welsh Government provided to local health boards on the transformation of clinical services (re. plans to change hospital services in west Wales)?

The Welsh Government expects health boards to work with the public to provide the best possible health outcomes and guiding principles are provided. He revealed Hywel Dda health board invited Adam Price three times via e-mail and phone to discuss plans for hospitals, all of which were turned down.

Verdict: Hit – Revealing the content of e-mails and phone calls of an elected politician in this manner is low. A reminder that Alun Davies was sacked for trying something similar.

David Melding AM (Con, South Wales Central): Will the First Minister make a statement on the support that is available for children and young people with additional learning needs in Wales?

Current reforms being undertaken – via the Additional Learning Needs Act 2018 – will transport expectations, experiences and outcomes for children with special needs backed by a £20million funding package.

Verdict: Miss – Straightforward question, straightforward answer.

Mohammad Asghar AM (Con, South Wales East): What action will the Welsh Government take to improve the economy of south-east Wales in the fifth Assembly?

The Welsh Government are happy to take part in any initiatives involving closer cross-border co-operation with the south west of England, but it has to be a joint initiative between the Welsh Government and local authorities on both sides of the border.

Verdict: Miss – Straightforward question, straightforward answer.

Point of Order

Quite understandably, Plaid Cymru wasn’t pleased with the First Minister’s response to Adam Price’s question. Rhun ap Iorwerth AM believed the First Minister’s answer constituted an improper use of data as it involved privileged information being used to attack another AM.

In reply, the First Minister said Adam Price has sent out a statement which said he intended to meet the health board “at the earliest possible opportunity”. He believed it was legitimate to point out that opportunities had been offered and a spokesperson later said that no sensitive information had been used.

The Llywydd, Elin Jones (Plaid, Ceredigion), agreed to have another look at how the Assembly’s rules (Standing Orders) work in relation to sharing and use of data.

 


I said on State of Wales that Welsh Labour were authoritarian in scope, but I didn’t expect it to come out so blatantly.

If there’s anyone in Welsh politics who has to be very careful about their PR at the moment it’s Carwyn Jones and this is a problem he doesn’t need on top of everything else.

I don’t think a meeting with the health board would really change Adam’s or Plaid’s views on hospital reorganisation. The worst thing is it wasn’t even relevant to Adam’s question, it was just a blatant jab for the sake of doing it. It also raises questions about how health boards use correspondence with politicians.

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