The Welsh Minister for natural resources and food Alun Davies has been removed from the Welsh government for “unacceptable” behavior, after asking civil servants to provide him with private financial information about senior opposition AMs.
According to BBC News, Davies was told that the information was not publicly available, but was persistent in wanting the information.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said the information was relating to farming subsidy payments paid through the Common Agricultural Policy. Davies wanted the information on opposition politicians including Tory leader Andrew RT Davies and Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams.
He also asked for information on payments to the Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach, Liberal Democrat William Powell and Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd.
Jones said the actions were “poorly judged” and “inappropriate”.
“The e-mails indicate that the minister asked the civil service to give him private information about the financial interests of a number of members of this chamber,” Jones said. (See email extract below). “These relate to CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) payments made to these individuals.”
Jones said that he asked the minister for natural resources and food to leave the government.
“I made this decision with some regret and would like to record my appreciation for the contribution that Alun Davies has undoubtedly made to the work of the government during his time in office”
First Minister Carwyn Jones – “I made this decision with some regret and would like to record my appreciation for the contribution that Alun Davies has undoubtedly made to the work of the government during his time in office”
In a statement Davies said: “I’m remaining absolutely focused on Blaenau Gwent. As I said when I was elected, Blaenau Gwent comes first, second and third.”
Edwina Hart will take over responsibility for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in addition to her existing responsibilities. She will be supported by Rebecca Evans as Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. John Griffiths will take over responsibility for environment policy.
Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew RT Davies, said: “This is an astonishing scandal that raises serious questions for Labour’s first minister and his wider government. Efforts to gain this information in what would appear to be attempts to smear assembly members is reminiscent of Damian McBride’s era under Gordon Brown.”