First Minister fails to defend leadership rival

The First Minister today failed to defend his beleaguered Education Minister after the latter faced calls to the backbenches over his constituency campaigning against flagship government policies.


The Education Minister has been campaigning against the closure of a Pentre Primary School in his Rhondda constituency, which is under threat because of his own policy to reduce surplus places.  It comes days after he was criticised for running a Labour campaign to save A&E services at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant.


The Minister has been under increased pressure after last week’s Estyn report concluded that 40% of primary and 50% of secondary schools fail to equip their pupils with adequate numeracy skills.


The report concluded that numeracy is ‘still a cause for concern in schools’ at key stages 2 and 3.


Andrew RT Davies AM, Leader of the Opposition, said, “The First Minister today had numerous opportunities to endorse his leadership rival’s future in his Cabinet, but spectacularly failed to do so.


“The Education Minister has once again been caught red-handed saying one thing in Cabinet and taking a completely contrary position in his own constituency.


“Voters will take an extremely dim view of such rank hypocrisy.


“This two-faced Minister’s partisan antics represent the very worst in political opportunism, which only serves to further undermine public trust in politicians.


“This Minister has been in post for nearly four years, while education has been in Labour hands for fourteen years and yet half of schools are failing on numeracy standards.


“Not only is this Minister failing to deliver on literacy and numeracy standards, he’s now openly campaigning against his government’s own policies.


“We’ve had the One Wales Government and now we have the Two Wales Government – one run by Carwyn Jones and the other by Leighton Andrews.


“How can anyone have confidence in this lazy Labour Government when even the First Minister cannot defend his own Education Minister?


“Carwyn Jones needs to get a grip on his Cabinet and give his leadership rival an ultimatum: to tow the line or oppose government policies from the backbenches.”