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Labour accused of ‘misleading’ voters over devolved policies

29 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Left David TC Davies. Photo Richard-Townshend-CC-BY-3.0. and Catherine Fookes

Twm Owen Local Democracy Reporter

Labour has been accused of “misleading” voters in a key Welsh seat by making promises on issues the Welsh Government has responsibility for. 

Leaflets promising to “cut NHS waiting lists” and recruit new teachers have however been defended by Monmouthshire candidate Catherine Fookes who said both are among the “biggest issues” for voters and a central to her party’s campaign. 

Conservative candidate David Davies, who is aiming to hold on to the Monmouthshire seat he has represented since 2005, under the challenge from Ms Fookes, a county councillor for Monmouth, branded the election material “misleading”.

“Con”

Mr Davies, who is the Welsh secretary in the UK Conservative government, said: “The UK Labour Party know full well that the Welsh Labour government have controlled our NHS, schools and rivers since 1999. 

“They’re trying to con the people of Wales by claiming they can sort river pollution and cut NHS waiting lists. It’s appalling that they’re deliberately misleading the public by claiming they can improve the NHS and other devolved areas, when Welsh Labour have failed to do so after 25 years.” 

River pollution has been a high profile issue in Monmouthshire with concern at the declining quality of the rivers Usk and Wye.  

Former Undertones singer, and river campaigner, Fergal Sharkey, who is behind the Stop the Sh*tshow campaign, highlighting water pollution, met with Ms Fookes in Monmouth and gave her his backing as part of his support for the Labour Party. 

Candidates were also asked what they would do to address river pollution at a hustings in Abergavenny when Mr Davies described the issue as “completely devolved” to the Welsh Government.

He said it shouldn’t be a “political football” and recognised the Welsh Government is attempting to address it, though he disagreed with some approaches including on agricultural pollution. 

Devolution of powers on water quality and water and sewerage has been a piecemeal process and the provision for some powers to be transferred, to Cardiff, was only approved in 2017. 

Hope

Plaid Cymru candidate Ioan Bellin said, at the hustings, full powers related to sewage still need to be transferred to Wales. 

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the Labour government in Cardiff has dragged its heels on the issue but said, if Labour forms the UK government next week, there will be no room for disputes over responsibility. 

Mr Bellin said: “By next week we will have a Labour government on both sides of the border so my hope is that they won’t blame each other and just get on with cleaning up our rivers.” 

Conservative Mr Davies also defended his focus on devolved issues, having said at the outset of the campaign he would highlight Labour’s record in Wales. 

He said: “Keir Starmer has stated Wales, and the Welsh Labour government, is ‘our blueprint for the rest of Britain’ so it is only right to scrutinise what they’ve done to public services in Wales.” 

He also said he is “absolutely, very happy to defend” the Tory record over the past 14 years and “the last five years I’ve been a minister”. He said Labour’s attacks on the Conservatives’ management of the economy didn’t hold up as he said European Union countries have faced similar problems and claimed Britian has had a stronger recovery. 

“Desperate attempt”

Mr Davies, who holds a 9,982 majority from 2019 when the seat didn’t include areas in the south west of the county, said: “Anyone with a smart phone or access to a laptop and five minutes to spare can look it up, please don’t take my word for it but check it out themselves.” 

Ms Fookes said health and education are a “key part” of Labour’s offer to people in Wales and the UK. 

She said: “This is just another desperate attempt to deflect attention away from 14 years of Tory failure.  Health and education are two of the biggest issues that people face every day and are both a key part of our offer to people in Wales and across the UK. 

“We can turn the page on Tory chaos if we have two Labour governments working together, investing in health and education and growing our economy. That’s what change looks like.” 


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Gareth
Gareth
15 days ago

I hope that after the election, this sorry little man will return to his Newham, London birthplace, and never bother Cymru, ever again.

Dirk Hustler
Dirk Hustler
15 days ago

Waiting lists are clearly linked to block grant funding and the funding model, both set by Westminster. It should be obvious that when per capita funding for health in Wales is essentially set by what Westminster thinks the younger healthier and wealthier population in England needs, it’s inevitable that outcomes will be worse in Wales. The Welsh Gov only has the power to make outcomes less worse which they clearly doing when you look at the mess in Northern Ireland where people are waiting five and a half years for treatment because Whitehall took control when devolution was suspended.

Last edited 15 days ago by Dirk Hustler
Howie
Howie
15 days ago
Reply to  Dirk Hustler

So 20% Barnett floor uplift can be used by Labour for other projects other than Wales NHS and it’s not their fault. So what did Labour spend the estimated 15p out of the £1.20per capita Wales get for NHS, it may well be short on a needs basis but for Labour to divert it then plead for more is taking Welsh electorate for fools.

Dirk Hustler
Dirk Hustler
15 days ago
Reply to  Howie

How about the 30% more that Wales spends on social care than England, according to the Nuffield Trust. Given the impact a lack of social care provision is having on A&E that uplift was money well spent, don’t you think?

Last edited 15 days ago by Dirk Hustler
Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
14 days ago
Reply to  Howie

I thought the per capita funding for health in Wales was higher than England.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
15 days ago

So Sunak and Badenough are busy burning bridges with USA Plc before they go…

The Fat Shank/Sunak/Badenough Effect; a mutation…

Expect more before they are removed under guard I hope because if it ain’t nailed down…

Confused
Confused
15 days ago

Llanelli Tory candidate is campaigning on 20 mph “blanket” speed limit and Welsh NHS. Twp or what?

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
14 days ago

Curious, since the Conservatives leaflet (in Gower) promises to scrap 20mph “blanket” speed limit and improve the Welsh NHS. Both of which are devolved and nothing to do with Westminster.

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
14 days ago
Reply to  Paul ap Gareth

It can still be Westminster’s fault though.

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
14 days ago
Reply to  Rhddwen y Sais

The state of the NHS is certainly an issue that can come from Westminster. Their immigration policies (high salary thresholds for immigrants), nurses bursaries, and overall funding including the retention of Barnett Formula even though it is widely acknowledged to be deeply flawed.

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
14 days ago
Reply to  Paul ap Gareth

Imagine the state of the Welsh NHS if we did not use English border hospitals.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
14 days ago

Where did this term “the people in Wales” come from, and why are Westminster politicians now constantly using it to refer to the Welsh people?

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