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First Minister considering minister inquiry report

by Adrian Masters - Political Editor

I understand the report into allegations against a Welsh cabinet minster is being considered by the First Minister. The First Minister asked the Permanent Secretary to investigate allegations that Alun Davies breached the ministerial code. Read more details here.

A Welsh Government spokesperson says Carwyn Jones will make his position clear 'in due course' but won't say when that will be. The Welsh Conservatives say a statement is 'overdue.' Tory AM Antoinette Sandbach, who wrote urging an investigation, has tabled an urgent question to the First Minister.

She said:

These are extremely serious concerns and answers are now overdue.

The ministerial code is very clear and the minister’s actions are extremely disturbing.

If a Labour Minister has used his position to secure an advantage in his own constituency – strong action must be taken by the First Minister.

Given the millions in public money that is tied up within the Circuit of Wales project, the results of this investigation should be published urgently.

“his is clearly in the public interest – and delaying publication is unacceptable.

– Antoinette Sandbach AM, Conservative

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Opposition welcomes 'common sense' dog law decision

Shadow Rural Affairs minister Antoinette Sandbach has welcomed the Welsh Government's decision to halt work on its Control of Dogs bill.

This common-sense decision that the Welsh Government is not going to plough its own furrow and will co-operate with the UK Government is a breath of fresh air.

This is a sensible decision given that the UK Government is already developing its own proposals which could include provisions to allow for the control of dangerous dogs.

This move also frees up capacity in the Assembly to scrutinise other worthy legislation.

This is a welcome decision, which can achieve the aim of ensuring the public and other animals are protected from the threat of a minority of dangerous dogs.

– Antoinette Sandbach AM, Shadow Rural Affairs minister

Farm aid is 'very little, very late' say Tories

The Welsh Conservatives have welcomed what they say is a 'very late u-turn' on financial aid from the Welsh Government on financial aid for farmers badly hit by last month's snow. The Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies has announced that £500,000 will be channelled through farming charities.

Additional financial assistance is extremely welcome – but very little and very late. Farmers currently battling for their livelihoods may gratefully receive this assistance – but will rightly question why it is has taken this long for the minister to change his mind. For many, much of Easter was spent digging frozen carcasses from the snow –with absolutely no support.

– Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs Antoinette Sandbach AM

The announcement came after the Assembly's Presiding Officer ruled that the minister should answer an emergency question on the issue from the Mongomeryshire AM, Russell George.

To call this a belated turnaround would be extremely generous. Over the last few weeks I have spoken to countless farmers desperately struggling with fallen stock, infrastructure damage, and financial uncertainty. Today’s additional support will be welcomed –but pales into insignificance when compared to support offered in other parts of the UK.”

– Shadow Minister for the Environment Russell George AM

Scientist resigns over Badger Cull U-turn

The Farmers' Union of Wales claims that the resignation of a scientist from the Welsh Government’s bovine TB eradication programme highlights what it calls the 'flawed nature' of the u-turn on holding a badger cull. Prof Chris Pollock is an expert in biological, environmental and rural sciences.

Vaccination is effectively untried so you are exchanging an approach which has a track record of success in Ireland and elsewhere with one not really tried at all.

– Prof Chris Pollock

Environment Minister John Griffiths halted a cull in Pembrokeshire and ordered vaccination instead. He's accepted the professor's resignation with regret. The shadow minister, Antoinette Sandbach, says it's damning for the minister to lose the confidence of one of his scientific advisors.

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