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Standards commissioner clears Andrew RT Davies over ‘blanket’ speed limit claims

25 Jan 2024 2 minute read
Andrew RT Davies by Senedd Cymru Welsh Parliament

Chris Haines, ICNN Senedd reporter

Andrew RT Davies has been cleared of breaching the Senedd’s rules for describing Wales’ default 20mph speed limit as a ‘blanket policy.

The Conservatives’ group leader was investigated by Douglas Bain, the standards commissioner, over tweets about September’s general reduction in speed limits on some roads.

The complainant claimed Mr Davies’ depiction of the change as a “blanket” speed limit breached rule two of the code of conduct which says members must act truthfully.

But, in an 11-page report, published on Wednesday January 24, the Senedd’s standards committee backed the commissioner’s finding that there was no such breach of the rules.

Mr Davies is not named in the report but sources have confirmed he is its subject.

‘Inaccurate’

Mr Bain was satisfied that the “blanket” description was “imprecise and inaccurate” but he concluded that that is not synonymous with being untruthful.

“Untruthfulness, like dishonesty, requires some element of deceit, fraud or moral turpitude,” he said. “Whilst all untruthful statements are imprecise and incorrect, not all imprecise and incorrect statements are untruthful.”

The commissioner pointed to evidence, which he deemed was accepted by the complainant, that Mr Davies has made clear that there are exceptions to the new general speed limit.

He said: “I cannot be satisfied there was any element of deceit, fraud or moral turpitude.”

The report said Mr Davies contended that referring to a “blanket” 20mph was not the same as calling it a universal limit, citing dictionary definitions.

But the commissioner found: “The Collins Dictionary definition, for example, is ‘applying to or covering a wide group or variety of people, conditions or situations’.

“Significantly, it does not say applying to or covering almost all of a large group.

“None of the other definitions provided suggest that ‘blanket’ means other than providing universal coverage.”

Mr Bain concluded that incorrect usage of the phrase has to be tolerated under Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The standards committee, which includes Labour, Plaid Cymru and Conservative members, agreed with the concept of honesty being about more than incorrect or careless statements.

MSs concluded that without clear evidence of intent to mislead, the threshold had not been met by Mr Davies’ comments.

The Conservative group in the Senedd declined to comment.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

This is an absolute outrage! RT has persistently peddled the ‘blanket’ lie giving the clear false impression that the new 20mph ‘DEFAULT’ speed limit applies on every road including high speed dual carriageways such as the M4 and A55 planting confusion in the minds of drivers which could endanger the lives of road users and all for mere political gain. As far as I’m concerned, this matter will have to be revisited because his entire purpose was to mislead the public.

Karl
Karl
1 month ago

Lies are a standard. Perhaps time to get rid of the standard commissioner, if all they do is look at a dictionary. We can all see the clear image RT was trying create to scaremonger with.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Semantics, like loopholes, are tricks of the politician’s trade, we know what he meant…

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

Whilst all untruthful statements are imprecise and incorrect, not all imprecise and incorrect statements are untruthful.” Commissioner Bain remains stuck in some kind of undergraduate warp where these statements are used to provoke philosophical or semantic debates. Wake up, mun, persistent repetition of the imprecise and incorrect amounts to an attempt to deceive.
Not that it really matters cos no fvcker that I know believes a word that comes from ARTD’s gob. He’s as big a twister as Drakeford and good patriots should not attempt to distinguish or differentiate as neither has this nation’s real future interests at heart.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
1 month ago

“I cannot be satisfied there was any element of deceit, fraud or moral turpitude.”

The standards commissioner needs to remove his establishment-tinted glasses.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

So ART Davies can be excused, because basically he was telling just a ” little lie” , like when you tell a child Sion Corn delivered the presents, Oh bless him he didnt mean any harm. CAC, he lied to mislead deliberately, end of story.

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Ironic the ECHR is his saviour when he has said that he is happy to see the UK pull out of the ECHR. Remember who he defends, Braverman, Truss etc. That is what he is, it is what he always will be.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Andrew R. T. Davies and his party are brilliant at criticising but never ever offer alternatives. Does anyone know what their proposals are should they ever gain office? They don’t promote themselves very well. What are they for?

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