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Labour leadership candidates ‘devoid of accountability’ says Plaid

09 Jan 2024 4 minute read
L: Vaughan Gething – R: Jeremy Miles – Centre: Rhun ap Iorwerth

Emily Price

Plaid Cymru has criticised the Labour leadership election for a “lack of accountability” after the two candidates made promises in policy areas which they are or have been personally responsible for.

Education Minister Jeremy Miles has pledged to increase spending on education despite having endorsed a Welsh Government budget which makes cuts in that area.

Former Health Minister Vaughan Gething has made promises concerning health in Wales despite having had five years in his previous post to make such changes.

Record

Mr ap Iorwerth said that so far the leadership candidates were failing to be honest about their own record in government.

He has criticised both ministers for not making the case within the Labour Party for economic fairness for Wales. He also accused the pair of not bringing “fresh thinking and new ideas” to the table.

Democracy

Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “The Labour Leadership Election is riddled with doublespeak where followers would be forgiven for thinking that the Education Minister Jeremy Miles wasn’t responsible for Education and that former Health Minister Vaughan Gething had never been responsible for Health.

“This historic revisionism is doing our democracy no favours whatsoever and is typical of a contest devoid of any real accountability.

“People want hope that a change of First Minister could lead to better outcomes for Wales’s economy and public services.

“What we have instead is two contenders seemingly distancing themselves from their personal record and their Labour government’s record.

“The candidates should be aiming to meet three key tests. Honesty about their own record in government, making the case within the Labour Party for economic fairness for Wales, and an ambitious prospectus of fresh thinking and new ideas.

“So far, they are failing on all fronts. They are falling over themselves in promising a review of the implementation of the 20mph speed limit, appearing to forget that Plaid Cymru secured such a review months ago by winning a vote in the Senedd.

“Vaughan Gething’s downplaying of the importance of waiting times is a worrying sign of things to come should he win. We know that the Labour Welsh Government have a track record of abandoning targets, but this is not the way forward when patients are waiting months if not years in pain.

“Similarly, Jeremy Miles is committing to more money for Education only if and when a UK Government increases the size of the Welsh budget. There is scant evidence that a Keir Starmer-led UK Government would fund Wales fairly.

“This may be a straight fight between two Labour contenders, but it is not the only choice for the people of Wales.”

Fresh approach

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds made similar calls for the two leadership candidates to set out a new vision for Wales.

She said: “The start of a new year brings with it a chance for renewed optimism. And with a new First Minister set to take charge this coming spring, a chance for a fresh approach to how Wales is being run should in theory be just around the corner.

“What we have heard from both candidates so far is that they will be taking the same “steady as she goes” approach. More tinkering, more managerialism, and not the vision for the future that people desperately need.

“We don’t want to see any more conservatism from Welsh Labour, what we need is a First Minister who is willing to take a bold and brave new direction for our country.

“We need a new vision for a thriving economy, a fresh start for our NHS, an innovative democracy, and creating a nation of second chances where everyone has the opportunity to get ahead. We need a fair deal for every corner and every person across our country.

“For far too long now the Labour party have stood by and watched as our country, our government, and our parliament has been dragged into the mud by an indifferent UK Conservative government.

“We need a Labour party, at both ends of the M4, willing to stand up and demand that Wales gets its fair share.

No more tinkering about and searching for excuses, now is the time for bravery.”

Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles were both invited to comment.


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1 month ago

I was not aware that ministers were responsible for any decisions they make including turning the country they are responsible for against themselves, they must want to collect their pensions early.

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