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Fiery 20mph row breaks out during First Minister’s Questions

09 Jan 2024 5 minute read
Mark Drakeford and Andrew RT Davies during FMQs

Wales’ First Minister has accused the Conservative Senedd group leader, Andrew RT Davies of “deliberate misinformation” in a fiery row over Wales’ default 20mph speed limit.

The dispute over enforcement of the controversial speed limit broke out between Tory and Labour benches during First Minister’s Questions on Tuesday (January 9).

The Welsh Government confirmed this week that following a three month grace period, enforcement of new 20mph default speed limit will begin.

The enforcement – know as Operation Ugain – will see roadside teams using speed monitoring equipment to catch offending motorists.

Drivers who are caught breaking the 20mph law could face a minimum fine of £100 and three penalty points – or an engagement session.

At a press conference on Monday, the outgoing First Minister suggested that drivers would not be fined for breaching the speed limit if they were “genuinely confused”.

Clarification

The road regulation has been met with opposition in Wales and a petition calling for it to be reversed has reached over 467,000 signatures – the most in Senedd history.

The Welsh Conservatives have heavily opposed the change due to its cost and the party has promised voters that if they were ever in power they would axe it.

Referencing the comments made by the First Minister at the press conference, Andrew RT Davies asked for clarification on the difference between “confused” and “genuinely confused”.

Mr Drakeford hit back saying the difference is, “that is not what I said” – to which laughing broke out in the Chamber.

Action 

The First Minister went not to say that enforcement action would be taken if there was evidence that a driver had “wilfully broken the law”.

However, he said that if a driver was “genuinely confused” then the system would instead seek to “engage and educate”.

Mr Davies said the First Minister’s explanation was “as clear as mud” and began reading out the wording of a BBC article in which Mr Drakeford is quoted saying, “genuinely confused would not be prosecuted or fined rather than just being confused”.

The Welsh Tory leader said the new 20mph default speed limit had proven to be “deeply unpopular” across Wales.

MSs began calling out across the Chamber including the man behind the 20mph policy, Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters.

Concern

Mr Davies pointed at Mr Waters saying: “It’s nice to see the Deputy Minister back here, chuntering from a sedentary position again.

“It has caused huge amounts of concerns the length and breadth of Wales, and the way it will be implemented and the fines that will arrive on people’s doormats will jeopardise livelihoods and lose people’s jobs, without the solid evidence that would show the support for the points that you have made.”

The First Minister answered by raising a previous PR shot of the Welsh Tory leader holding a 20 is plenty placard alongside road safety campaigner Rod King.

Andrew RT Davies with Rod King. @20splentyforus / Twitter

“Blanket”

He said: “As I’ve understood it, he himself is in favour of 20mph zones in certain circumstances. I’ve seen him with placards demanding 20mph zones outside schools, outside hospitals and so on.

“Even he doesn’t believe in a blanket policy, and it quite certainly is not the blanket policy of this Welsh Government. It never was, it never has been, and it isn’t a blanket policy today.

“The fact that he continues to repeat it and he knows that it isn’t true is a very good example of the points that Ken Skates made in his question about misinformation being far too close to home in this chamber as well as in the outside world.”

Mr Davies responded saying that anyone who drives dangerously or breaks the law should be prosecuted – but he said the new law is a “bad law” that is confusing and dangerous and should be withdrawn.

He said: “Ultimately, this piece of law should be withdrawn and common sense prevail. And your two leadership candidates, one of the first statements they made was to promote a review of this piece of legislation.

“So, ultimately, it shows, even on your own benches, there is disquiet about this piece of legislation that you’ve brought forward. So, why don’t you just scrap this piece of legislation and move back to the 30 mph that we had in this country before 17 September?”

The First Minister accused the Welsh Tory leader of putting out a “deeply dangerous message” by encouraging people to act differently depending on how they themselves perceive the law.

Mr Davies cut across saying: “How can you say that?”

Mr Drakeford added: “Every single person in this Chamber has a responsibility for explaining to people that if you make the law, you must uphold the law, and that law is there to be upheld.

“It will be upheld, it will be held sensitively and sensibly, and a good deal more sensibly than he has been this afternoon.”


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

RT told directly in the chamber that ‘blanket’ is misinformation. It appears he did not use the term in this exchange which is to be welcomed but it’s my guess that he will use it again when he appears on the misinformation channel.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Talking of ‘mis-information’ it surprises me that the petition figure keeps getting quoted by NC whenever the 20MPH urban limit is discussed. I was under the impression that the petition was of very doubtful quality as people outside Cymru were signing up to it and that it was possible to sign in with multiple ‘identities’. Could NC please present us with an article that provides evidence that the petition was valid, or otherwise stop using it. After all, the whole point of such publications as this is to provide accurate reporting in a way that the billionaire owned right wing… Read more »

Vance Grffiths
Vance Grffiths
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Well Rod king keeps getting plenty of colomn inches and he lives in England.

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

I hear a lot of rhetoric around the law intimating that perhaps it should be ignored. As a politico involved in this, Mr ARTD knows this and prodding the action from the rear of the mob. He is the one handing out the brands and pitchforks to the mob. And as ever No10 are pushing hm to do their dirty work.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff
Llyn
Llyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff

Agree. He and his party fail to condemn the mindless clowns who have broken the law and attacked road signs/public property and makes out that anyone who breaks the speed limit is not to blame for their own actions. The fact is not all drivers against the 20mph speed limit are poor/idiot drivers but all poor/idiot drivers are against the 20mph limit and he is their spokesman.

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
1 month ago
Reply to  Llyn

well said Llyn. As for the 20 limit being an attack on Drivers – I’d say it’s an attack on Non Drivers more like, and rightly so. In the interest of safety. Too many morons on the road nowadays, who need to slow down, or better still get off it altogether – go and sit in a darkened room and cool down!
We don’t have to join the tories rat race! Try the slow lane, it’s far better.
That’s speaking as an ex Long Distance Lorry Driver.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

I’m thankful that there is a greater chance of discovering the moon is made of cheese than the chance of the tories running the Welsh government.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Well that’s no fairy-tale, as the saying goes…pin a red rose to a donkey and Labour voters in Wales will vote for it.

Adrian Taylor
Adrian Taylor
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

I think you might be wrong there the amount of people that are against the 20ph and made to change against their will. The Welsh Dragon I’d waking up.
The people of Wales are Angry. You can not put a sheep up and put Labour on it anymore

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
1 month ago

To myself and other Patriots they are irelevent they both represent what i dislike they are unionist parties reps in Wales

Eifion Wynne
Eifion Wynne
1 month ago

Regarding the term inconsistency, I hope a review will eventually take place and 20mph will be enforced in places absolutely needed for genuine safety reasons. I do however see clear inconsistency in the fact that the WG have legislated local authorities implement this on highways they are responsible for. Two miles from Ruthin through the village of Pwllglas runs the A494 trunk road. All trunk roads are the responsibility of the WG. In Pwllglas the speed limit remains at 40mph despite the fact there are homes on one side of this busy road with a recently constructed new children’s playground… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

I can see it now, before the next Senedd elections, Davies focusing 100% on this ‘blanket’ crap. The Welsh public don’t need this. If Labour needs to be held to account the opposition needs to do far better. I’m no conservative supporter but Cymru needs effective opposition parties. Davies is dragging his party further into the mire than it already is – everyone knows this blanket rubbish is a complete lie.

Mick
Mick
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

I think it about time we got rid of the labour party and got back to comm sense before we have war on people

Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndŵr
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Spot on! Good opposition helps make for better Government.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago

Someone needs to take the spade out of Drakefords hands as he is just digging a bigger hole for himself each time he speaks about the 20 mph nonsense. RTD must be loving it and at the end of the day this is all self inflicted by Drakeford so no sympathy.

Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndŵr
1 month ago

😂😂 ARTD has been exposed as two faced and a liar. As for MD he’ll be of soon, so who cares!

Yuri Nator
Yuri Nator
1 month ago

I likewise have 0 sympathy for Drakeford . I do however have a lot of sympathy for people who may rely on what Drakeford has said – and which was quoted in the article – about “genuinely confused” people not being prosecuted. It’s inaccurate. Well established law and practice regarding prosecution of speeding is very clear. The accused driver’s state of mind is irrelevant. Speeding is a strict liability offence. This is why all those lawyers like so-called Mr Loophole, Nick Freeman, successfully challenge speeding prosecutions on things like defective signage/ defective or uncalibrated cameras etc. Although at first glance… Read more »

cablestreet
cablestreet
1 month ago

I watched the video clip and for a moment I thought it was being broadcast from Alexandra Palace. Has Arty D had a set of darts for Christmas?

Richard E
Richard E
1 month ago

Please stop 🛑 attacking ARTD !

His views and ideas plus unique way of expressing them as well as an ability to
change, swerve etc do credit to his leadership of the Conservative Party.

His place in our historical journey towards self
determination is secure and we will all
be so proud to have witnessed such a remarkable contribution to public life .

if these attacks continue then I and others like Not Graham Jones will no
doubt move forward towards a Gvt Petition via the 10.000 signatures to achieve a statue or bust in the nations capital.

Lord Custard
Lord Custard
1 month ago

Good luck to the enforcement authorities trying to work out if someone is just confused or genuinely confused.

Caradwg
Caradwg
1 month ago
Reply to  Lord Custard

Hmm. Do you understand the meaning of the word ´genuine´?

cablestreet
cablestreet
1 month ago
Reply to  Lord Custard

Is that in, ARTD confused or ARTD genuinely confused, about what constitutes a blanket 20mph speed limit?

FJholloway
FJholloway
1 month ago

Funny how arriva just announced bus cancellations due to the 20mph limit. Wales is surely closed for business.

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