Aberconwy MS, Janet Finch-Saunders, has been criticised by one of her opponents in next year’s Senedd elections after she said she would not meet members of Extinction Rebellion and branded the campaign group “neo-fascist”.
Plaid Cymru Aberconwy county councillor, Aaron Wynne, who is running against Mrs Finch-Saunders in next year’s Senedd election called her comments “a bit rich” and said he would be happy to continue to work with Extinction Rebellion to tackle the gravest crisis facing the world.
He said that Mrs Finch-Saunders’ comments were hypocritical as she had attacked the climate change campaign group just days after Conservative county councillors in Conwy met with members of the group at County Hall.
Aaron Wynne said: “I along with some of my fellow county councillors met with Extinction Rebellion on Bank Holiday Sunday, and we had very constructive discussions with the group.
“The Conservative leader of the council was there as was a county councillor who works for the Conservative Party so it’s a bit rich for Janet to say something as absurd as this.
“Unlike Janet I’m not afraid to duck a debate and given her own county councillors were willing to do the right thing it’s hypocritical of her to make these silly comments.”
Janet Finch-Saunders had said that Extinction Rebellion’s actions “in targeting a free press” when they blocked the printing presses of newspapers such as the Sun and the Times were “beyond the bounds of acceptable political protest”.
She also called on the Welsh Government not to engage with the organisation.
“As Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Energy and Rural Affairs I have declined to meet with the extremist and neo-fascist organisation Extinction Rebellion,” she said.
“Their actions today are a dangerous example of hatred and intimidation which has no place in politics and I am also suggesting that all Welsh Conservative candidates for next year’s Welsh Parliament elections do not engage with them either.”
But Aaron Wynne sais that her comments were not appropriate.
Cllr Wynne added: “Throwing around terms like neo-fascist is particularly ill-judged, it does a disservice to our veterans who fought real fascists,” he said.
“Janet’s comments were themselves a disturbing attack on free speech from the establishment and she backed up a newspaper that is rightly boycotted across north Wales and Merseyside because of its disgusting history.
“Does she think that Liverpool and Everton fans are in the wrong because they advocate a boycott of the Sun?”