Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Can you be a Minister and still serve your Constituency?

I have some sympathy for Under pressure Welsh environment minister Alun Davies  whose under facing investigation into whether he broke government rules.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has announced the inquiry

Mr Davies wrote to the environment watchdog over plans for a race track, near Ebbw Vale, in his constituency.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) expressed concerns over the £280m plans but later said it had been reassured.

It emerged last week that Mr Davies - whose portfolio includes overseeing NRW's work - had written to the organisation in his capacity as AM for Blaenau Gwent, urging it to reconsider.

In the letter he said he was "very concerned with the processes at work within NRW in this matter", and asked whether it was acting in line with all its statutory duties.

Mr Jones said a top civil servant would consider if Mr Davies's actions "conflicted" with his ministerial role.

Welsh ministers are in favour of the Circuit of Wales scheme.

If Mr Davies wrote in his capacity as an AM rather than as a Minister, I don't see what the problem is.

There may be a fine line between whether a elected representative is seen acting in a Ministerial Role or as a Representative of a constituency.

I share  Natural Resources Wales (NRW) expressed concerns about the proposed race track  and am also cynical whether it is actually financially viable . It seems to have the potential of being a White Elephant.

But as the local AM Alun Davies should be allowed to support the scheme and in that capacity write to NRW.

But the problem is  there's always a danger of drifting into Pork Barrel Poltics

 The term pork barrel politics usually refers to spending which is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes.

Its a difficult area  Minister still have to look after the Interest of their constituents but they can't use their position to unduly benefit their constituency .

That's why we have  Ministerial Code, the rulebook which governs ministers' conduct..

“4.4 Where Ministers have to take decisions on their own portfolios which might have a particular impact on their own constituencies or electoral regions, they should take particular care to avoid any possible conflict of interest. Where Ministers are uncertain about whether a conflict arises between their Ministerial and constituency/regional responsibilities they should consult the First Minister, for decision as to how the business is to be handled.

The question is did Mr Davies break the rules ?

He may well have been doing the job he was elected to represent his constituency but he should know how much his Ministerial Role affected this.

If he has he should go even though it may be a little unfair.


  1. Best if they look to one of the more recent racing circuits built in Europe - half way between Dresden & Berlin "EuroSpeedway" - built in an economically depressed area. Came in vastly over budget (the bankers budget, not the budget estimated by the engineering consultants), made a loss from day 1, was sold for 1 Deutschmark after 2-3 years. It was built for F1, US Indycar as well as Motorobikes, and included a testing circuit. Very nice, but completely OTT.

  2. This is Alun Davies's second strike after his affair with an advisor in his department, Leighton Andrews was sacked from the Cabinet for a second offence, so for consistency he should be sacked, whether Carwyn Jones will do that is another matter.

    And i agree with Penderyn the circuit in Blaenau Gwent isn't viable, the estimates of building and running costs, use of the facility and visitor numbers quoted by the press are at the top end of expectations. It's a shame no politician (AM,MP or councillor) will question the numbers and viability.

  3. Yes I think we can agree at least the plans for the race circuit looks dodgy. Maybe Alun Davies needs to answer why he so enthusiastic about it?

  4. anon 13.20 again, it's rather handy that Nick Ramsey was drunk in the Chamber yesterday giving the welsh media the perfect opportunity to move on, take the pressure off Alun Davies and Carwyn Jones and bury the story of Ministerial wrong doing.

  5. I think you for got to add allegedly .