Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Tory place-men in Welsh Questions

The Western Mule Martin Shipton ,in what looks like a based in a copy of a  Labour Press release  reports that Government whips in the House of Commons have been accused of devising a “human shield” strategy to protect Welsh Secretary David Jones and his Scottish counterpart from awkward opposition questions.

Part of the article says:

Labour say Conservative whips have asked 10 English Tory MPs to systematically submit easy questions to Mr Jones and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore to cut down on the time available for Welsh and Scottish MPs and to disguise the Tories’ lack of political representation in Wales and Scotland.The same 10 MPs entered the draw for both last week’s Scottish Questions and tomorrow’s Welsh Questions.Tory MP David Amess, whose Southend West constituency is 200 miles from Cardiff and 400 miles from Edinburgh, last week asked the Scottish Secretary how many meetings he has had to promote business and tomorrow is due to ask the Welsh Secretary what his verdict is on the defence industry in Wales.Mr Amess, whose interest in Wales has, according to Labour, never been apparent before during his 30 years in Parliament, is part of a trend said to have increased by 40% since Mr Jones became the Secretary of State for Wales last September.
Western Mail January 15 2013

Part of a press release or not this move  makes a mockery of Welsh Questions  as 
Plaid Cymru’s parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd said : 

“Obviously it’s most unwelcome considering that MPs from Wales have only 30 minutes per month to raise their concerns about Welsh matters.“The last time this practice seemed to have been adopted was under the last Tory administration in 1992. One would have hoped that a sense of fair play would persuade them that what they are doing is utterly wrong.“I know the response will be that Westminster is the UK Parliament, but nonetheless this practice is unacceptable and will give rise to acrimony.”

Western Mail January 15 2013 
Even the Governments LibDem allies are concerned 

Roger Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats in Westminster, said: “I could understand this happening when the Conservatives had no MPs in Wales or hardly any, but they now have eight.
“It’s also understandable when there are cross-border issues relating to hospital services, for example. In the main, however, I’d like to see a convention agreed by all parties that Welsh questions should be reserved for Welsh MP
Western Mail January 15 2013  

Welsh Questions, like Prime Minister Questions and First Minister Question are as Plaid Leader Leanne Wood described the  latter a Pantomime and does not serve much of a real purpose, As Members try to get a soundbite in the little time they have to ask a question . Only to find that the Minister does not answer it even though he or she is primed with statistics from their Civil servants

And Government lackeys are given questions to ask that show the government in a good light which if they are clever enough they memories or if not read out. The reward being a bit of promotion in the Government ranks.

So its usually a waste of time with no real insight into the Welsh Office and what its doing and its not helped with the poor quality of Labour MPs who often are just mouthpieces for the leadership in the same way the Tories are.

Still they are Welsh MPs representing Welsh Constituencies.

There may be a case for some cross border MPs to ask relevant questions affecting their constituencies but it is ridiculous that this is happening.

And to what extent are Civil servants in the Welsh Office used to prepare questions to be handed to English MPs like Davis Amess to ask Welsh Ministers ?

Now that's one question I'd  would be only to happy for him to ask. But I doubt he'd get an answer.

1 comment:

Britnot said...

Yet another reason for more power to be transferred from the increasingly corrupt Westminster to the Senedd. The sooner we get the transfer of powers at least equal to those being proposed for Scotlan, the better.