ANDREW RT: Ministerial code should be supervised independent of Welsh Government

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, has called for the ministerial code to be supervised independent of Welsh Government, following the First Minister’s decision to issue new advice on how ministers take decisions that could benefit their constituents.


Welsh Conservatives led calls for an investigation into the conduct of the former economy minister Edwina Hart, following her decision to allocate funding for a company just outside her Gower constituency without consulting the First Minister.


The steel-coating firm, Kancoat, which was based less than half a mile from the Gower constituency, received £3.4m of public money despite civil servants warning it had a "weak" business plan and was high risk.


At the time, the First Minister denied Mrs Hart had broken the ministerial code because the firm was not in Gower, but he has now issued new guidance telling his cabinet they should consult him if a decision taken on a matter outside their constituency could be of "significant benefit" to their constituents.


Mr Davies has said the new instructions “do not go far enough”.


Commenting, Mr Davies, said:


“From the outset, Welsh Conservatives have been clear that Kancoat, whether through self-interest or spectacularly poor judgment, involved a significant breach of the ministerial code.


“The debacle has once again demonstrated that the current system is not good enough and after nearly eight years in post it’s clear the First Minister has failed to implement a process which is accountable, instils confidence and protects the Welsh taxpayer.


“It simply cannot be right that Carwyn Jones continues to act as both judge and jury in these matters, and it’s high time for the code to be supervised independent of government to ensure decisions are made in the best interests of Wales – and not the particular needs of any one Cabinet Minister.”