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Welsh Tory MP slammed for ’embarrassing’ performance in House of Commons debut

07 Dec 2023 6 minute read
Image PA, Parliament TV

Emily Price

A Welsh Conservative MP has been criticised for an “embarrassing” debut in a senior ministerial role at Westminster which saw her repeatedly deflect questions put to her about Wales.

On Wednesday (December 6) Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Fay Jones attempted to fend of questions about issues the UK Government has responsibility for by instead condemning the Welsh Government.

Cynon Valley MP, Beth Winter, pressed Ms Jones – who was appointed her new role last month – on the UK Government’s autumn statement and the impact it will have on Wales.

Ms Winter said: “Tory inflation and austerity means the Welsh budget is worth £900m less than when it was set and the autumn budget consequentials do not make up for it.

“The Institute for Welsh Affairs has called the autumn statement ‘a return to austerity, tax cuts at the cost of cuts to public service delivery’ and its the people of Wales who are suffering.

“Instead of the autumn statements’ tax hand outs to the wealthy in London and the south east, will the Secretary of State not urge the Chancellor to tax the wealthy to better protect Welsh public services?”

“Mismanagement”

Responding, Ms Jones criticised the Welsh Government for cuts to public services saying it’s not the amount of money the Welsh Government is receiving that’s the issue, but rather it’s the way in which they are “mismanaging public services in Wales”.

She added: “The 2021 spending review delivered the Welsh Government a record settlement of £18bn a year. I think she (Ms Winter) needs to recognise that the problem is on her own side in Wales.”

Ms Winter later told Nation.Cymru: “As usual, Welsh MPs went to the chamber in good faith with questions for Government Ministers.

“As usual, Tory Ministers shirked responsibility and tried to point the finger at Welsh Government for their own failings.

“On Wednesday I made a serious point about the Conservative autumn statement failing Welsh public services, only for the Minister to deflect and accuse Welsh Government of mismanagement. The Tories are failing Wales.”

North Wales

Also in the House of Commons on Wednesday, shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens asked Ms Jones how much it would cost to electrify north Wales’ main railway line.

In her response Ms Jones evaded the question, again raising Cardiff Bay in her answer.

She said: “I think what is important to recognise is that this Government is the first in many decades to commit to that project.

“I am sorry that she appears to agree with her colleagues in the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff Bay who seem to say that this is not a priority.

“This side of the House feels that electrification and economic growth in north Wales is a priority and I am sorry she can’t agree with that.”

Ms Stevens later accused the Under-Secretary of State for Wales of using “look over there” tactics.

The Cardiff MP said: “It was clear yesterday that the Minister was simply unable to answer questions my colleagues and I put to her.

“The supposed electrification of the north Wales mainline was something made up on the hoof by the Tory government to deflect from their broken promises on HS2.

“The fact they can’t even answer simple questions on its deliverability, instead choosing to stick to their ‘look over there’ approach exposes it for what it is; a lie in the sky project they will never deliver.”

“The people of north Wales – and indeed all of Wales – deserve better than this shambles of a government that governs via headlines and slogans, rather than fulfilling their promises.”

Immigration

Also during questions to Welsh ministers this week, Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon Hywel Williams warned that many Welsh families could be broken up by the UK Government’s controversial new immigration rules.

On Monday (December 4) Home Secretary James Cleverly outlined a plan to tackle rising net migration, which would increase the skilled worker earnings threshold – and the minimum income for family visas – to £38,700.

Mr Williams raised the case of one of his own constituents who is due to marry his Brazilian partner next year and make their home in Wales.

The Plaid Cymru MP said it was far from clear at present whether they will  be able to do this under the new income rules.

He asked why his constituent should have to choose between his wife and his country.

Ms Jones did not answer the question, instead saying that it is policies by the Welsh Government and “aided and abetted by” Plaid Cymru which are “disadvantaging” Wales.

She said: “I would say to him that’s it’s his (Mr Williams) colleagues in Cardiff Bay who need to have a look at what they’re doing.”

“Pathetic”

Mr Williams told Nation.Cymru he felt “embarrassed” for Ms Jones’ “pathetic” response.

He said: “I appreciate that Fay Jones is a new Minister but her unbelievable deflection in response to my question reflects the deep malaise of this Tory government.

“Numerous constituents have reached out about the real impact of the Tories’ short-sighted immigration policy. These people had planned their lives around the expectation of being able to live with their partners in Wales, only for the earnings threshold to be more than doubled.

“The Minister’s attempt to blame the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru for a policy completely under Westminster’s jurisdiction was beyond pathetic. Quite frankly, I felt embarrassed for the Minister.”

Responding to the comments about her conduct during questions in the Commons this week, Fay Jones MP said: “I blamed the Welsh Government for problems in public services in Wales which are entirely their responsibility.

“Despite the record funding settlement for the Welsh Government, Welsh schools and hospitals are woefully mismanaged by Welsh Labour.

“As I said in the House yesterday, it is not the amount of funding – it is the way in which public services are being mishandled in Wales that is the problem.”


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Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
2 months ago

It is so nice to see that MPs work hard in the Commons to support their constutients and get on top of the briefs they have been given. Oops, looks like she must be a Tory if she is dissing her country and ignoring her brief. Cannot understand how we end up voting for such people in Cymru.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 months ago

To be a Tory in Wales is embarrassing. They all look sound and think the same way. Their core ideology isn’t capitalism but an obsession with Whitehall direct rule and their Westminster wet dream of assimilating Wales into a greater England.. Truth be told. How many times do you hear Andrew RT David or David TC Davies use England as a example whenever they attack Wales or devolution. They never praise Wales when we do something right but prefer to ridicule. Conservative comedienne Fay Jones and other so-called Wales Conservative MPs don’t represent their constituents or Wales in any capacity… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Y Cymro
Jeff
Jeff
2 months ago

Not really a surprise. Boris sacked all the capable MP’s. Now all they can do, from the PM down, is try to deflect and the equivalent of the school yard “no, you smell”.
How is th English NHS doing?
Speaking of which. Wonder what happens with the England sell off of the NHS, does that drop our funding for same through Barnett?

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

When they sell off their NHS, the cost will inevitably go up, so the Barnett Consequential will have to rise.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
2 months ago

Q. How can you tell when a tory is lying?

A. Their mouth is open and there is sound coming out.

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
2 months ago

Faye Jones could try burning all the questions,that would run in her family.

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