A furious political row has erupted after Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan cancelled a planned debate on changes to the way Assembly members are elected.
The debate itself was already controversial: it emerged yesterday that a Welsh Grand committee had been arranged for Monday much to the surprise of MPs of all parties including the Government's own backbenchers and even some of those with Government roles.
A spokesman for the Welsh Secretary said it was a question of timing: it had proved impossible to find parliamentary space for a full debate on the floor of the House of Commons.
Labour's Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith was highly critical, saying the possible effects of the changes outlined in Cheryl Gillan's Green paper were so significant that it should only be debated on the floor of the House of Commons.
Well today the controversy took a new twist. In the video below, the Welsh Secretary is answering a question from Wrexham Ian Lucas. But what she has to say in that answer took aback most of those who were listening.
Later in the session, her junior minister, David Jones added fuel to the fire by accusing Welsh Labour MPs of 'running scared' in the answer he gave Labour's David Hanson.
Meanwhile the Welsh Secretary had issued a statement expressing her 'dismay at the obstructive stance taken' by Labour MPs:
I should say that some Conservative MPs weren't slow in voicing their criticism of the plans themselves and the cancelling of the debate. One Tory MP said to me 'everything she does goes wrong.'
But the row didn't remain in the Commons chamber or in the lobbies. David Jones took to Twitter to reiterate his criticism of the Shadow Welsh Secretary:
When I spoke to him, he stood by his remarks, adding that Owen Smith had been 'cowardly' in his opposition. Meanwhile the Shadow Welsh Secretary also used Twitter to express his anger:
So what's behind the surprise move? Sources close the Welsh Secretary tell me she's 'fed up' with continued 'hypocrisy' and 'petulant behaviour' from Labour MPs' adding 'from now on it's no more Mrs Nice Guy.' She's also said to be angry that when Labour's Peter Hain introduced the White Paper which led to law-making powers for the Assembly and ultimately last year's referendum, there was no debate on the floor of the House, not even a Welsh Grand committee.
A Wales Office source pins the blame on the new Shadow Welsh Secretary, suggesting that Mr Smith is 'playing games to make his mark.' In turn he's accused her of making a 'petulant decision' in a letter he's now written to her. He also urges her to appear in a debate on the Green Paper being held by former Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy:
This is far from over.