War of words after Welsh Lib Dem leader brands Welsh Conservative MP’s votes ‘consistency cruel’
A war of words has broken out between Wesh Conservative MP Fay Jones and Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Jane Dodds, after the latter branded the former’s votes at Westminster “consistently cruel”.
Fay Jones, who ousted Senedd Member Dodds as an MP in 2019, voted to end the UK’s commitment to contribute 0.7% of gross national income on international development aid.
She did so in line with the UK Government whip. But the move was criticised by several prominent Conservatives, including former Prime Ministers John Major and Theresa May.
Jane Dodds said that the vote would unleash “unnecessary human suffering” on a scale that was “hard to imagine”.
“It means more children sold into slavery. It means more children dying in famine and conflicts in Yemen and Syria,” she said.
However, Fay Jones has shot back, saying that Jane Dodds comments were “not just misleading” but also “downright deceptive”.
“We are in the midst of a global pandemic which has plunged the economy into the deepest recession for 300 years,” she said.
“As much as I regret the decision to cut overseas aid, repairing the damage to our economy is the difficult and responsible thing to do. Of course the Liberal Democrats would be ignorant of this – they evade responsibility at every turn.”
Fay Jones added that even at 0.5% the overseas aid budget was still greater than the amount of money the Government gives out in its own welfare system.
“This week I voted to restore the 0.7% commitment as soon as possible – something which I believe is extremely valuable,” she said.
“On top of the £10 billion we send abroad, the opposition are conveniently forgetting enormous investment the UK Government has made in the Oxford AstranZeneca vaccine. Through Covax, we are sending 3 billion doses of the vaccine around the world.”
Jane Dodds however said that cutting international aid was “a step backwards in our race to halt the climate emergency”.
“It means fewer people having access to education, economic opportunities, basic sanitation and life-saving medicine. It means efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 becoming harder.
“Fay Jones voted to stop young children being reunited with parents and families in the UK. She voted against providing free school meals to children over Christmas during a pandemic.”
Jane Dodds also criticised Fay Jones’ opposition to football players taking the knee before matches.
“This week she continued in her failure to stand on the side of England football players when they take the knee against racism and broke her own manifesto promise to the poorest and most vulnerable,” Jane Dodds said.
“This Conservative UK Government is not consistent about many things, but they are consistently cruel.”
However, Fay Jones said that she was “disgusted” that the Liberal Democrats had chosen to “misrepresent” her views on the matter.
“While many have an issue with the symbol of taking the knee, any stand against racism should be respected,” she said. “I condemned those who booed the England players on national television.
“Once again, the Liberal Democrat leader deliberately chooses to peddle falsehoods in order to stoke a culture war. She ought to be ashamed of these comments.
“This is purely motivated by a cruel hatred of the Conservatives. I really wish the Liberal Democrats would concentrate on doing their job.”
On Wednesday Fay Jones defended her opposition to taking the knee, tellling BBC news that it was “a political symbol and I think that’s the problem that certain people have had with it”.
She later backed a campaign by Powys bookshop Book-ish to deliver copies of Marcus Rashford’s book You ar a Champion to schools in Wales.