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Lee Waters survives vote of no confidence tabled by Tories

27 Sep 2023 4 minute read
Picture by the Welsh Government

Emily Price

The minister in charge of the new 20mph default speed limit has survived a vote of no confidence in the Senedd.

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters faced the vote of no confidence, tabled by the Welsh Conservatives this evening.

Mr Waters is the Welsh Government minister of the 20mph default speed limit for Wales, which came into force last Sunday (September 17).

Before the debate, Welsh Tory shadow minister for transport Natasha Asghar said: “His position is untenable, it’s time for him to go.”

Wales is the first country in the UK to reduce the default speed from 30mph to 20mph on restricted roads and the controversial policy has drawn support as well as opposition.

The motion which was debated on Wednesday evening (September 27) read: “To propose that the Senedd has no confidence in the deputy minister for climate change given the record-breaking number of signatories to the petition: ‘We want the Welsh to rescind and remove the disastrous 20mph law’.”

During the debate, Ms Asghar referenced the record breaking Senedd petition currently at over 440,000 signatures calling for the new 20mph speed limit to be scrapped.

The shadow minister for transport claimed Mr Waters is “ferried around in a chauffeur driven car” all day therefore isn’t impacted by the new speed limit.

“Right thing”

Ms Asghar said: “We’ve had hundreds of calls, e-mails, and messages from people all across Wales who are quite frankly livid. And this vote is not solely just about 20 mph and speed limits, it’s about all of the transport failings we’ve had over the last three years.”

She called for the First minister, Mark Drakeford to “do the right thing” and sack Mr Waters.

Adam Price for Plaid Cymru brought an emotional tone to the debate speaking about his cousin who was killed by an overtaking car as a child.

Mr Price said this week he visited the spot where his young cousin had died many years ago and found the new 20mph had been “daubed in paint”.

During the debate, Plaid Cymru’s Delyth Jewell implored the Welsh Conservatives to withdraw the debate of no confidence in Lee Waters as she was “frightened” what it would do to Welsh politics.

She said: “Politics demands better of us than this. I am an optimist, Llywydd, and I still live in the hope that the Conservatives will turn their back on this path of populism, which harms us all, because politics demands better.”

Labour backbencher, Hefin David MS paid credit to the Welsh Tories saying: “They’ve achieved something today that many have tried and many have failed: they’ve united two thirds of this Chamber around Lee Waters”.

Mr David went on to say the deputy minister for climate change “had done nothing more than his job”.

Mr Waters said during the first week of the 20mph default speed limit rollout, councils had exercised their power to make exceptions and keep some roads at 30mph.

He said further reviews and monitoring would be carried out over a five year period and councils would be offered the chance to express any issues with the criteria for exception roads.

Mr Waters ended his time speaking in the debate by thanking the people of Wales who had been abiding to the new 20mph default limit.

Darren Miller MS responded to the debate by referencing the abuse members of the Senedd had been the target of surrounding the issue of the new default speed limit.

The vote closed with 16 for the motion of no confidence in Mr Waters whilst 42 were against.


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Steffan Gwent
6 months ago

If the 20mph petitioner is a populist then Plaid/Labour are the establishment elite.

Alwyn Evans
Alwyn Evans
6 months ago
Reply to  Steffan Gwent

That’s a pretty silly analogy. The 20 mph petitioner is a disaffected Labour supporter, who refused to let his petition go before the Petition’s Committee at 10,000 votes and therefore frustrated the Senedd’s capacity to tweak the bill by not allowing it to be reconsidered. He has a perfect right to do this, but one has to doubt his motivation.

Llyn
Llyn
6 months ago
Reply to  Steffan Gwent

Out of interest who in Plaid or Labour have called the petitioner a populist?

Silenced!
Silenced!
6 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

Why? Want to send them threats?

Paul
Paul
6 months ago
Reply to  Steffan Gwent

The populism would be Conservatives being pro-20mph, advocating and voting for it until they realise that being contrary is more politically advantageous (after the Uxbridge byelection) and then rallying people against it.

Welsh Conservative, David Melding, first submitted a motion to introduce a 20mph default speed limit in residential areas. Labour investigated the idea they suggested and found it beneficial.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul

That’s very true, the Tories want to whip up emotions as they believe it to be a vote winner. That’s what is wrong here, Tory lies and hypocrisy.

Llyn
Llyn
6 months ago

I speak as a motorist. It’s striking that the Conservatives, instead of calling for a change to a default 20mph around schools, hospitals and in residential areas in the Senedd this week, as is their stated policy on social media, have called for a complete abolition of the default 20mph. It appears this line that they want 20mph around schools, etc is just a fig leaf to look as if they have some consideration for pedestrians, school kids and cyclists when their actions indicate clearly that they don’t give a damn.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

The point is that the default 20mph speed limit is around schools, hospitals and residential areas, it’s just that some of those routes happen to be A or B roads. The baying mob seem to have overlooked the fact that local authorities have the powers to override the 20mph default and doing it this way, if I understand it correctly, means that to change to a 30mph speed limit does not need to obtain a special order costing many thousands of pounds to legally make the change.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
6 months ago

Plaid’s Delyth Jewell said, “I still live in the hope that the Conservatives will turn their back on this path of populism, which harms us all, because politics demands better.” Yes: Politics demands a perpetual big warm hug of consensus unruffled by the cold winds of reality outside your cosy Senedd!

Silenced!
Silenced!
6 months ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

So you think the only options are visceral dogwhistling rabble rousing and having a consensus?
Are you legally permitted to vote? Because you don’t seem to have an idea of how politics was conducted before Farridge and Johnson .
Debate is encouraged. Motivating morons to try and destroy people for puerile reasons should not be.

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago

In this iteration, the Welsh cons are a wrecking ball for Tufton St. nothing more. They are not here for people of Wales, only to do their owners bidding. I had hoped that the last leadership change would be a good one, every government needs decent opposition. Instead we have a rabble. When os their next slot on GBeebies.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
6 months ago

Natasha says “We want the Welsh to rescind and remove the disastrous 20mph law”, yet consistently fails to elaborate on why it’s “disastrous”.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
6 months ago
Reply to  Nobby Tart

I want someone to pin the Tories down on the use of the word ‘blanket’ and make them define what it means. To me it says 20mph on every single road in Wales including the M4 and A55. They must be made to explain it or they’re just getting away with their gigantic, propagandist lie.

Silenced!
Silenced!
6 months ago
Reply to  Nobby Tart

It was created just BEFORE it was introduced. So it had not yet been enacted and there was no evidence to suggest it would be disastrous.
“We want the Welsh to rescind …” doesn’t sound like something a resident in Cymru would write. Sounds very much like something an English Tory would write.

simon m hughes
simon m hughes
6 months ago

Surely it the fatalty mentioned at the beginning of your article bears no relation to the debate other than a car overtook in a 30mph speed limit which has now been imposed? Was the offender under the influence of drink/drugs? Was the driver disqualified from driving that class of vehicle? What were the weather conditions at the time? There are of course more variables to a road traffic accident! To put the argument into perspective Spain recently produced a follow-up report on their much vaunted and used as evidence by Mark Drakeford, which showed a significant increase in road traffic… Read more »

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