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Welsh Tories accused of ‘lies’ and ‘misinformation’ in agriculture reform row

26 Feb 2024 7 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking with farmers after he delivered a speech at the Welsh Conservatives Conference. Photo Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Emily Price

The Welsh Conservatives have been accused of ‘lies’ and ‘misinformation’ amid a series of heated social media spats between politicians over proposed agriculture reforms for Wales.

It comes following a number of protests by farmers regarding the Welsh Government’s new Sustainable Farming Scheme which will replace grants once received when Wales was part of the European Union.

It will require farmers to bring their existing tree and woodland cover up to 10% – and earmark another 10% for habitat.

However, farmers say this would never be practical whilst running a farm business.

Rishi Sunak, along with Tory politicians publicly backed Welsh farmers outside the Welsh Conservative conference in Llandudno last week.

It sparked a ferocious row between the Tories and Plaid Cymru with Plaid’s Westminster leader accusing the Prime Minister of “shameless bandwagon jumping”.

Liz Saville Roberts later slammed the Tories for “leaving Wales to pick up the pieces of their Brexit shitstorm”.

Amid a series X disputes at the weekend, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies said Plaid Cymru can “pull the plug” on the SFS by ending its “coalition” with Welsh Labour.

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said the post showed “what a contemptuous lot” the Conservatives are.

‘No coalition’

On X, he wrote: “Lying? Misrepresenting? All considered fair game to them. Sensible people won’t fall for it. They know there’s NO coalition govt in Wales and that Tory govt slashed ££ available to rural Wales.”

In December 2021, Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour signed a deal to work together on 46 policy areas.

It is a cooperation agreement and not a coalition government because Plaid Cymru remain in opposition but can appoint advisers to offices of the Welsh Government.

However, the Tories have argued that the formal definition of “coalition” applies to the agreement because it is a temporary alliance between the two parties.

Deal

On Sunday, an image was shared on the Welsh Conservatives X page of the moment Mark Drakeford and former Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price signed the cooperation agreement a few years ago.

The Welsh Tory leader said: “It’s a coalition in all but name. Very dishonest to claim otherwise. The so called ‘co-operation agreement’ gives Plaid access to civil servants, special advisers and ‘designated members’.

“Labour can only decimate Welsh farming because Plaid let them. If they wanted to, Plaid would pull the plug. Instead, they resort to misinformation and keep Labour in power.”

Responding, Plaid Cymru MS Mabon ap Gwynfor said the Tories only know how to “tear down and destroy things”.

In an X post he said: “And Conservatives ask me in amazement why we won’t work with them. When they purposefully lie like this then they will *never* have *any* influence in the Senedd.

“The only thing they know is how to tear down and destroy things. Building is anathema to them.”

Andrew RT Davies responded: “It’s not a lie Mabon. By propping Labour up, Plaid is enabling Labour to decimated the Welsh farming industry. It’s coalition in all but name.”

Mr ap Gwynfor hit back saying: “The narrative suits your political agenda, but it’s a lie and does a serious disservice to politics and the people we are elected to represent honestly.

“Courting votes is one thing, but a damaged democracy shouldn’t be the price you pay in your endeavours.”

‘Direct lie’

Labour MS Alun Davies also waded into the row saying: “It’s a direct lie Andrew. And you know it.”

The Guardian published an article on the protest from the Observer which claimed that the Prime Minister had attended the protest alongside a group which had posted conspiracy theories about climate change and which campaigns against net zero.

‘Cranks’

Alun Davies shared the article alongside the caption: “These cranks need to be called out – they do not represent ordinary farming families up and down Wales.

“Anyone with concerns about the future of agriculture support needs to articulate an alternative to the proposals before the end of the consultation.”

Welsh Conservative MP Fay Jones and shadow transport minister Natasha Asghar MS criticised Mr Davies for the post saying he shouldn’t describe angry protesting famers as “cranks”.

Responding to the MS on X, Ms Jones said: “Had you bothered to go out and speak to protestors, you’d know who they were. In no way are they ‘cranks’. They’re my constituents and you owe them an apology.”

However the Welsh Labour backbencher says he was not describing ordinary farmers as “cranks” but he was referring to the people who had hijacked the protests who were spreading conspiracy theories as was explained in the article he had shared.

Mr Davies asked the MP for Brecon and Radnorshire whether she had read the Guardian article he had posted.

She said: “No because you called them cranks and I couldn’t be bothered to give your opinions further attention with that sort of attitude. I thought better of you Alun.”

Mr Davies said the Tory MP was “deliberately and wilfully” misrepresenting him.

Ms Jones also hit out at the deputy minster for climate change, Lee Waters after he said the Welsh Tories had “completely lost their moral moorings” and now “lie and misrepresent with impunity”.

The Member of Parliament responded saying: “Welsh Labour flailing so hard amid farming protests that they’re pretty much Trumpian in their levels of misdirection.”

Farmers plan to protest to politicians against the SFS in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday (February 28).

A consultation is currently underway for the scheme and Welsh Government has said alterations to the proposals will be made before the scheme is rolled out next year.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Succinctly put Liz…

Paul ap Garth
Paul ap Garth
1 month ago

It is galling to see Conservatives in Wales say that Welsh politicians should talk to protestors, while Conservatives in England say that peaceful protestors are “threatening” and considering legislation to ban protestors from being anywhere near MPs.

Quote: “The Prime Minister has warned that democracy must not be “stifled” by intimidation and threats from protesters who disagree with their views.”
Source: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/other/protests-against-mps-could-be-broken-up-as-sunak-warns-threats-are-unacceptable/ar-BB1iMs0v

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

Look at some of the people involved behind the scenes of the ‘No Farmers no food’ campaign on social media – looks like the Tufton street mafia (who helped bring us the disaster that is Brexit) are up to their old tricks again 😉

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

This campaign, according to an article in the Guardian paper , was started and is being run by a Mr James Melville, a GB News presenter, who campaigned against covid vaccines, and covid lockdown. He has also posted on X various dodgy claims. Interference from over the border in our internal politics.

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

You can guarantee the usual suspects will be at the back end of this trying to muddy the waters. ARTD doesn’t do facts, he does tub thumping.

How are we in Wales for squirrels? On e of the protesters reckons we need to eat more squirrels.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

‘Telling it as it is’. A term only ever attributed by boiled brains to the very most prolific political liars who only ever tell it as it isn’t. Here, we have the wonderful Liz Saville Roberts ACTUALLY telling it as it is with her accurate and beautifully phrased ‘Brexit s**tstorm’ comment. As a cider advert once put it, ‘What a refreshing change’.

Llyn
Llyn
1 month ago

I wonder if the BBC Wales News outlets who have been whipping this up with stories created by using out of context statements by the FM, erroneous reporting of the Sustainable Farming Scheme and giving anyone purporting to represent farmers a free ride, will touch any of this?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

What, the Welsh Tories caught lying? No, really? I’m shocked? They are so virtuous. Snow white in fact. Squeaky clean, dare I say it. They’d make Mother Theresa look seedy. Not our Welsh Tories. Surely not. And if you believe that pile o crap you voted for Brexit. The English Conservative funded Tory Taliban hiding in their caves in the mountainous region of Tory Bora led by Osama Dusty Bin Davies are unable to tell the truth. It’s lie after lie after lie. They are political Pinocchios, who have never done anything positive for Wales since the inception of devolution.… Read more »

David
David
1 month ago

For the grown ups. Let Nation Cymru just publish the full cooperation agreement.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  David

What for?

Erisian
Erisian
1 month ago

They are not looking for solutions – just wedges.
Out of ideas
Out of time
Out of credibility
Let’s get all Welsh conservative and unionist party MSs and MPs Out of Power

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Why are so many politicians serial liars? They cannot give a straight answer to a question and when they do they lie.

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