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Former Welsh Secretary criticises committee chairman over Tory ‘blackmail’ claim

22 Jan 2022 3 minute read
David Jones MP. Picture by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0). Right, William Wragg makes his statement.

A former Welsh Secretary has criticised the chairman of a committee on which he sits for using his position to claim that the UK Government was attempting to “blackmail” MPs into backing Boris Johnson.

William Wragg, who is chairman of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said in an opening statement on Thursday that he advised colleagues who feel threatened to go to the police.

Clwyd West MP David Jones who sits on the committee however said that the statement should not have been made without prior discussion with other members.

“The impression was given that the statement was a committee statement, and it wasn’t — it was a personal statement,” he told The Times.

“Anything that is purported to be said on behalf of the committee should be discussed by the committee. That was not discussed. None of the members of the committee so far as I’m aware knew precisely what he was going to say. All they knew was that he was going to say something.

“He told us literally minutes before the committee started that he was going to make a statement, he wouldn’t tell us what the nature of the statement was, and when he did make the statement it was as much of a surprise to us as it was to anybody else.”

William Wragg is to meet with police next week to discuss his allegations, including that MPs had been threatened with having UK Government funding for their constituencies withdrawn.

‘Erosion’

Another Welsh MP, Chris Bryant who represents Rhondda, said that he had spoken to other Conservative MPs who had made similar allegations.

“I’ve even heard MPs alleging that the prime minister himself has been doing this,” Bryant, who is chairman of the Commons Committee on Standards, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He added that there had been “a steady erosion of standards in the way we allocate funding”.

William Wragg has defended making the announcement at the start of the committee.

“The statement was made in my role as chairman,” he said. “Given the sensitivities, I discussed the matter with the Speaker before the committee session. Each member of the committee is entitled to their own view.

“We work well together because of this diverse range of experiences we bring, but all with a commitment to proper scrutiny.”

Downing Street said it had not seen any proof of the behaviour he alleges. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he would look into the allegations.

“I’ve seen no evidence, heard no evidence, to support any of those allegations,” he said.


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Ed Jones
Ed Jones
8 months ago

Interesting what vexes him isn’t it? Imagine working with or for him, how in good conscience could anyone do so?! Awful man, awful views. I wonder what the fine people at Anfield (YNWA!) would think knowing he is often sat amongst them…

Erisian
Erisian
8 months ago

For heavens sake refer to the role as Secretary of State for Wales.
Calling them Welsh Secretaries makes them sound Welsh, which on the whole, even if they were by birth, they never seem to be at heart.

arthur owen
8 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

For god sake accept that David Jones is as Welsh as you or me,it is just that we do not like his opinions.

Grayham Jones
8 months ago
Reply to  arthur owen

How can David Jones be welsh when he is a Torie no Tories or Labour people are welsh ether wise they would not be standing for English party’s in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Bill
Bill
8 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Silly.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
8 months ago
Reply to  arthur owen

I agree, although I do think Erisian has a point about how we describe the role. ‘Welsh Secretary’ implies that we chose them for the role, which, of course, we didn’t. David Jones is my local MP. Like probably most of the commentators who use this website, I do not agree with many of his opinions – especially on Brexit and his anti-devolution stance – but we must accept that he has a right to express them just as we have a right to ours. History will judge who was correct and I really don’t think future Welsh historians will… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
8 months ago
Reply to  arthur owen

We certainly seem to have more Quislings per 1000 head of population than other countries of similar size.

Dewi Williams
Dewi Williams
8 months ago
Reply to  arthur owen

Well, to be accurate more Anglo/Welsh I would say with a marked tendency to favour his Anglo side. He never outwardly seems to have anything to say which promotes Wales in a positive way. If he ever has then he keeps it to himself. A characteristic of sycophancy to his Westminster masters demeaning any claim he has to Welshness has not gone unnoticed either. He also seems to subscribed to the belief that the Welsh exist at the largesse of the English. Does he have any pride in being Welsh? I’ve yet to see this.

Mark
Mark
8 months ago

I would think that the chairman of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, and vice chairman of the 1922 committee, is probably a bit more important than some old has been tory.

Grayham Jones
8 months ago

David Jones is a Disgrace to wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh

Quornby
Quornby
8 months ago

On any issue you choose to study, Davies can be guaranteed to be on the wrong side.

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