(Title Image: via Senedd TV)
Economy & Transport Minister, Ken Skates (Lab, Clwyd South), has referred himself for an investigation under the Ministerial Code after reportedly intervening to ensure bus subsidies – ultimately his department’s responsibility – were retained in his Wrexham constituency.
Rhun ap Iorwerth AM (Plaid, Ynys Môn) asked for an update on the investigation during yesterday’s First Minister’s Questions, saying “people need to know that there is full transparency in the way that funds are spent on bus services.”
The First Minister – who will determine whether a breach has occured – told him that a decision will be made in due course. It’s unclear when Ken Skates referred himself for investigation.
The Ministerial Code (pdf – p14) states that ministers should take care to avoid a conflict of interest when making decisions within their portfolio of responsibilities which directly affect their respective constituency or region. In such circumstances, they should consult with the First Minister beforehand.
The Nolan Principles of Public Life also states that ministers should be objective and impartial when making decisions.
In 2013, the then Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, resigned after campaigning to keep a school open in his Rhondda constituency which went against his own government’s policy regarding surplus school places.