Lee Waters survives vote of no confidence tabled by Tories
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.
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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