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Labour backbench anger at M4 announcment

Three Labour backbench AMs have attacked the announcement of an M4 relief motorway,. They were unhappy with either the decision itself or the timing of Edwina Hart's statement.

Pontypridd AM Mick Antoniw and Cardiff North's Julie Morgan are both members of the Assembly Environment Committee. They were unhappy that the minister had not waited for their committee's report on the proposal and had not even agreed to appear before them.

The minister replied that she could not not appear before the committee until she had taken her decision for fear of a legal challenge on the grounds that she had not acted impartially. Mr Antoniw, who's a lawyer warned that the minister had in fact left herself open to a legal challenge by her actions.

Cardiff Central Labour AM Jenny Rathbone argued that new roads inevitably generate more traffic and said her constituents would be disappointed by the decision.


Tory reshuffle was 'desperate manoeuvre' says Labour

Labour AM Mick Antoniw says this about the Welsh Conservative reshuffle:

Sacking nearly half of his shadow cabinet in one fell swoop via twitter suggests Andrew RT Davies has nothing but contempt for his colleagues.

This is a desperate manoeuvre from a wounded leader struggling to impose some semblance of order of amongst his ranks. The Tory shadow cabinet has seen its female representation halved, echoing David Cameron’s Bullingdon Club approach to frontline politics.

All that is left is a gaggle of discontented backbenchers plotting their next move as RT’s disastrous leadership reign hangs by a thread.

– Mick Antoniw AM, Labour

'I find it quite sad' - Labour A&E campaigner on Tory claims

Pontypridd AM Mick Antoniw has hit back at the Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies who's questioned why the campaign name 'Labour4RoyalGlam' was registered online four days before an official announcement.

I find it quite sad. We all knew from the engagement process that the Royal Glamorgan may have been involved and there was speculation in the media that it would be affected so we prepared for the possibility.

– Mick Antoniw AM, Labour

As for the decision to close facebook and twitter pages for the 'Labour4RoyalGlam' campaign, Mr Antoniw said:

It's clear that people on the ground didn't want it to be a party political issue, so we changed the name to Campaign 4 Royal Glam so that it could be cross-party.

– Mick Antoniw AM, Labour

Thatcher's funeral 'an establishment charade' claims Labour AM

Although only party leaders paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher in the Assembly, the Labour AM Mick Antoniw has issued his own view of her premiership. He was a lawyer for the NUM during the miners' strike and in his assessment of the former Prime Minister's time in office addresses her directly.

During this period under your command, parts of Britain came close to becoming a police state. You used the police in the same way as foreign dictators have used the police to prevent lawful democratic action. There were communities that for periods of time were completely closed off to the public, under police control, where miners were arrested, beaten and their homes smashed up. Food donated by the public for hungry miners families was thrown out of lorries by the police to rot.

– Mick Antoniw, Labour AM for Pontypridd

Mr Antoniw said he is opposed to spending £10 million of public money on Baroness Thatcher's ceremonial funeral. He said it was 'an establishment charade'. He offered his own version of what she should have said on taking office, when she quoted St Francis of Assisi

In 1979 you said 'Where there is discord may we bring harmony, where there is despair may we bring hope'. In reality should you have said: 'where there is community and cooperation I will bring greed and selfishness, where there is freedom and democracy I will support dictatorship provided they have the same economic objectives as me, where working people strive to achieve a more just and equal society I will use the apparatus of the state to strike them down in support of the privileged, the rich, the powerful'.

Mr Antoniw, whose father was a Ukrainian who came to Britain after the Second World War, also broke with the political consensus that has praised Margaret Thatcher's role in ending the Cold War and causing the collapse of Soviet Communism.

It is claimed you brought the Soviet Union to an end. Well, as the son of a Ukrainian refugee, I campaigned all my life against the despotism of the Soviet Union. Most of my family were deported to the Gulag by Stalin, my uncle was killed in the partisan war in 1952, my aunt was arrested and tortured by the KGB yet I am not aware of anything you did to support those campaigns. In fact in 1988 as the Soviet Union was beginning to fall, you specifically opposed Ukrainian freedom.

– Mick Antoniw, Labour AM for Pontypridd


Labour AM accuses Plaid Cymru of 'Del Boy' politics over regional pay

Labour AM Mick Antoniw welcomes Plaid's opposition to regional pay but hits out at what he calls its 'bizarre' decision to call for pay and conditions to be devolved. He says that would require large amounts of new funding and compares it to Del Boy promising 'we'll all be millionaires tomorrow.'

Plaid'snew leader, Leanne Wood, has failed to give progressive leadership here. Theyhave put their nationalist and separatist ideology ahead of the interests ofworking people. As a socialist she has fallen at the first hurdle. Her Del-Boypolitics will undermine the trades union campaign against the Tory Government'sattacks on public sector workers

– Mick Antoniw AM