First Min­is­ter ac­cused of mis­lead­ingAssem­bly over bul­ly­ing claims

Western Mail - - NEWS -

CAR­WYN Jones is fac­ing al­le­ga­tions that he mis­led the Na­tional As­sem­bly over bul­ly­ing al­le­ga­tions in his pri­vate of­fice.

For­mer Pub­lic Ser­vices Min­is­ter Leighton An­drews and Steve Jones, a for­mer special ad­viser to the First Min­is­ter, have both de­scribed an at­mos­phere of toxic bul­ly­ing on the As­sem­bly’s Min­is­te­rial fifth floor that im­pacted on Carl Sargeant.

Mr An­drews has said he made a for­mal com­plaint about the al­leged bul­ly­ing in 2014.

In Novem­ber 2014 Welsh Con­ser­va­tive AM Dar­ren Mil­lar tabled an As­sem­bly Ques­tion to Car­wyn Jones, ask­ing: “Has the First Min­is­ter ever re­ceived any re­ports or been made aware of any al­le­ga­tions of bul­ly­ing by special and/or spe­cial­ist ad­vis­ers at any time in the past three years and, if so, when and what ac­tion, if any, was taken?”

Mr Jones re­sponded: “No al­le­ga­tions have been made.”

How­ever, when asked by Welsh Con­ser­va­tive leader Andrew RT Davies in First Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions yes­ter­day to con­firm that bul­ly­ing al­le­ga­tions had been made to him, Mr Jones said: “What I can say is that any is­sues that were brought to my at­ten­tion at that time were dealt with, and that’s what the an­swer was given and that an­swer is cor­rect, back in 2014.”

Out­side the cham­ber Mr Davies said; “The First Min­is­ter’s com­ments sug­gest that he may have mis­led AMs over his knowl­edge of al­le­ga­tions of bul­ly­ing within Welsh Gov­ern­ment. In light of this very trou­bling rev­e­la­tion, I call on the First Min­is­ter to re­fer him­self un­der the Min­is­te­rial Code so that this ap­par­ent breach of the rules can be prop­erly in­ves­ti­gated. Given that Car­wyn Jones is the sole ar­biter of the Min­is­te­rial Code, he should, as Alex Sal­mond did in 2012, ap­point an in­de­pen­dent White­hall man­darin to set in mo­tion an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion. A healthy and func­tion­ing democ­racy can­not and must not tol­er­ate politi­cians, es­pe­cially lead­ers, who are less than truth­ful, and AMs de­serve an­swers as to why the First Min­is­ter know­ingly with­held from them in­for­ma­tion of such grav­ity.”

A Welsh Gov­ern­ment spokesman re­sponded: “As the First Min­is­ter has al­ready made clear, any is­sues that were brought to his at­ten­tion in 2014 were dealt with. Any­one who wishes to make a for­mal com­plaint, ei­ther his­toric or cur­rent, are wel­come to do so through his of­fice or the of­fice of the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary.”

The Welsh Con­ser­va­tives were not sat­is­fied with this re­sponse, and a spokesman said: “It’s clear that the First Min­is­ter feels he can op­er­ate with com­plete im­punity. As the sole ar­biter of the Min­is­te­rial Code, he has, like a tup­penny Soviet dic­ta­tor, de­cided that he is not ac­count­able to it.

“His be­hav­iour, and that of his of­fice, today sends a clear mes­sage to the Welsh pub­lic: po­ten­tial wrong­do­ing will not be scru­ti­nised if it con­cerns the First Min­is­ter. Hav­ing al­ready writ­ten to the First Min­is­ter, we will now be writ­ing to the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary and the Pre­sid­ing Of­fi­cer on this mat­ter.”

> Car­wyn Jones

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.