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Deputy Minister Lynne Neagle broke Senedd standing orders

20 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Lynne Neagle

Martin Shipton

A Welsh Government minister broke the Senedd’s standing orders by failing to declare an interest when she should have done.

But no sanction will be imposed on Torfaen MS Lynne Neagle, the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Ms Neagle’s breach of rule appears to be linked to her employment as a senior researcher of Matt Greenough, who was Carwyn Jones’ chief special adviser when he was First Minister until 2018, and to his evidence at the inquest into the death of Carl Sargeant, the Labour minister who committed suicide days after he was sacked from the Cabinet following undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment.

Senedd Standards Commissioner

A complaint made to Senedd Standards Commissioner Douglas Bain by information rights campaigner Jamie Roberts stated: “During the meeting on this date, the committee discussed matters related to the inquest and subsequent events surrounding the death of Carl Sargeant. It’s crucial to highlight the context in which Ms Neagle’s contributions were made:

“At the time of this meeting, Mr Greenough was under significant scrutiny due to his role in the handling of Carl Sargeant’s departure from the Welsh Government. As a special adviser, he was cross-examined during the coroner’s inquest, which eventually led to the imposition of a prevention of future death order on the Welsh Government.

“Ann Jones MS, recognising her involvement in matters related to the inquest, appropriately recused herself from this particular item on the agenda. This act of recusal underscores the gravity and sensitivity of the topic under discussion.

“Despite the serious nature of the discussion and the evident need for impartiality, Ms Neagle’s line of questioning to the First Minister appeared skewed. Instead of focusing on the Welsh Government’s actions before and after Carl Sargeant’s death, she diverted the conversation towards the importance of protecting complainants. This diversion can be perceived as a deliberate attempt to shift the narrative away from the core issues, potentially benefiting Mr Greenough and others who were under scrutiny.

“Ms Neagle’s decision to declare an interest only at the end of the meeting is concerning. By the time of her declaration, her contributions had already influenced the direction and tone of the discussion. As the ranking Labour member on the committee, her input would have carried significant weight, and the late declaration raises questions about transparency and potential conflicts of interest.”


Mr Bain has now written to Mr Roberts, stating: “As required by paragraph 7.7 of the Procedure, I write to advise you that the Standards of Conduct Committee has agreed my recommendation that I should not continue my investigation of this complaint and that although a breach of Standing Order 17.24A has been found, no further action will be taken against the Member.”

Standing Order 17.24A states: “Before taking part in any committee proceedings, a Member must declare any interest, financial or otherwise, that the Member, or to their knowledge, a family member, has or is expecting to have which is relevant to those proceedings, and might reasonably be thought by others to influence the Member’s contribution.”

Mr Roberts has responded to Mr Bain seeking clarity about the outcome of his complaint. His letter states: “Thank you for informing me of the Standards of Conduct Committee’s agreement with your recommendation regarding my first complaint against Lynne Neagle MS. Learning that a breach of Standing Order 17.24A has been identified, yet no further action will be taken, prompts significant concern and disappointment.

“Could you please provide further clarification on the basis for the decision to recommend that no further action be taken, despite the identification of a breach? Understanding the reasoning behind this decision is crucial for me.

“Additionally, will the full report and the rationale behind the decision not to proceed with any action be made publicly available? If there is no plan to publish these details, I kindly request, under the Freedom of Information Act, all correspondence between your office and the Standards of Conduct Committee pertaining to this matter.

“Given that a breach has been recognised, it seems only right that the public be made aware of the breach and the reasons behind the decision-making process.

“Transparency in these proceedings is vital for maintaining trust in the processes that uphold the integrity of the Senedd and its members. I look forward to your response and further clarification.”

Nation.Cymru has reported previously how Mr Greenough was working for Ms Neagle at the same time as he was working for the lobbying firm Cathod Du, run by his close friend Luke Holland, a former director of communications for Welsh Labour and husband of former Welsh Labour general secretary Louise Magee.

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Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago

Seems the Standards Committee has lost its way. No investigation into Neagles’ clear breach of the rules on conflict of interest. Similarly no investigation into Gethings acceptance of a £200,000 gift from criminal gains and more. Leaves me thinking the standards of the Standards Committee are non existence

Rob jones
Rob jones
1 month ago

Corruption at every level I don’t know how Welsh labour have the cheek to stand up and complain about any other party

1 month ago

I declare this to be the best concluding paragraph on Nation Cymru, and every other Welsh website! Just brilliant! If anyone asks you how Devolution has developed, that “Great Good Morning” (Ron Davies, Park Hotel 1997),

“Nation.Cymru has reported previously how Mr Greenough was working for Ms Neagle at the same time as he was working for the lobbying firm Cathod Du, run by his close friend Luke Holland, a former director of communications for Welsh Labour and husband of former Welsh Labour general secretary Louise Magee.”


Last edited 1 month ago by HarrisR
1 month ago
Reply to  HarrisR

Political Incest ? An old party game in Wales.

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