Alun Davies is sacked as Environment Minister by Carwyn Jones for “unacceptable” behaviour.
The “unacceptable” behaviour – trying to get financial details of farm payments made to Assembly Members with a farming interest.
The Minister pushed his civil servants to get this information, they rightly refused. He then pressed them orally and they again said “no.” The matter was drawn to the attention of the First Minister who promptly sacked him.
Carwyn Jones said “requests were poorly judged, inappropriate and the fact that they were made at all is unacceptable to me as First Minister.”
The disgraced Minister’s portfolio has been shared between two Cabinet Ministers and a new Deputy. Edwina Hart takes over responsibility for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in addition to her existing responsibilities but is supported by Rebecca Evans as Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. John Griffiths takes over responsibility for environment policy.
The Opposition were understandably angry, two of the leaders Andrew RT Davies and Kirsty Williams were two of the five AMs targeted by the Minister. The others were Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach, Liberal Democrat William Powell and Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd.
All the Opposition leaders accused Davies of launching a “smear campaign and the Conservatives drew parallels with worst excesses of Damien McBrides work.
Kirsty Williams asked for independent scrutiny of the Ministerial code and Andrew RT Davies wanted a wider inquiry. Both of which the First Minister turned down. He pointed out that the system was clearly working, as the Minister had been sacked.
Williams asked the First Minister to withdraw the Labour whip from Davies and the Leader of the Opposition wanted him sacked as an AM. Both demands were met with a “no.”
This was the third event that required Carwyn Jones to deal with his Minister. The first was the Minister’s inappropriate behaviour with his Policy Advisor. This led to the Advisor being transferred to other duties. He then broke the Ministerial Code in relationship to the motor racing development in Blaenau Gwent. And, of course today’s development finally closed the curtains on this controversial member’s ministerial career.