The Education Minister should consider his position in the cabinet because of his involvement in a campaign on A&E services in South Wales, according to the leader of the Opposition. But Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies stopped short of saying that Leighton Andrews SHOULD resign.
His comments follow the revelation that Labour politicians fighting to protect services at the Royal Glamorgan hospital in Llantrisant had been told not to use the party's name in the campaign. As Rhondda AM, Leighton Andrews, is the most prominent of those involved in the campaign.
The First Minister insists that Mr Andrews has not overstepped the mark in his involvement but Andrew RT Davies says the Education Minister should consider whether or not he can continue to battle for his constituents' interests whilst remaining in the cabinet.
From what I understand it would be quite difficult for him to continue in the cabinet given what he's said over the first two weeks of this campaign.
The Welsh Conservatives are describing Carwyn Jones' comments about a campaign group in support of A&E services at Llantrisant's Royal Glamorgan hospital as a 'slap-down' to Labour politicians involved. The party's Shadow Health Minister said:
This unprecedented slap down is more proof that the Labour Party is falling apart on the NHS.
Carwyn Jones has not only tightened the leash on his Education Minister, he’s strapped on a muzzle and forcibly caged him.
The campaign and its shroud-waving clearly show that Carwyn Jones’ government is in complete turmoil on NHS reform.
Labour leaders did not 'condone' the use of the party's name in a campaign against changes to A&E services in South Wales, according to Carwyn Jones. The First Minister was responding to questions about the role of the Education Minister in campaign supporting Llantrisant's Royal Glamorgan hospital.
He said he'd discussed what sort of campaigning was appropriate with Leighton Andrews who he said hadn't stepped beyond 'tramlines' within which a minister was expected to operate. But he was more critical about the original name of the campaign group 'Labour4RoyalGlam' which has since been changed.
A Labour AM involved in the campaign last week said the change stemmed from 'people on the ground' wanting it to be cross-party. But it seems the pressure came from the Labour leadership. Here's what Carwyn Jones said when asked if he'd been comfortable with the earlier use of the party's name:.
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.
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.
The Welsh Conservatives say they've discovered that a Labour campaign name to fight controversial changes to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital was registered online four days before the announcement was made.
They've found an online record of the domain name 'LABOUR4ROYALGLAM' being registered on the 19th May. A public consultation on proposals for A and E services in South Wales was announced on 22nd May. They say the campaign's Facebook and Twitter pages have also been changed to 'Campaign4RoyalGlam'
Opposition leader Andrew RT Davies has accused Labour politicians involved in the campaign of 'hypocrisy' and says the online discoveries raise 'serious questions' about both the consultation and Labour's campaigning role.
This sorry affair raises questions that need to be answered. How did they know that the Royal Glamorgan was included in the proposals some four days before the announcement? How can the public have confidence in the legitimacy of a consultation process that seems to give Labour politicians the inside track? And, finally, why have all traces of the original website, Twitter and Facebook pages now disappeared?”
More than 100 people have held a protest in Pontypridd over proposed changes to health services across South Wales and South Powys.
If they go ahead, only five hospitals in the region will have A&E departments set up to care for the most seriously ill patients.
Health chiefs say they believe centralising services will improve patient care.
Megan Boot reports.
Responding to the news that Labour politicians including one Welsh Government minister have set up a campaign to protect accident and emergency services at Royal Glamorgan hospital in Llantrisant, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:
The campaign to ensure safe NHS services as close to people’s homes as possible should be broad-based. A proper community campaign which can unite all of us who have concerns about the loss of services from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and further centralisation would be the best way ahead.
A Labour minister, with a direct voice in the government that is making these changes is in a good position to halt these proposals now. If the plans are not halted, then I would imagine that big questions as to whether this is political posturing are bound to be asked. Plaid Cymru will work with anyone who is interested in fighting to save local services at hospitals like the Royal Glamorgan. We very much hope that the fight will be a successful one – failure is not an option when lives could be put at risk
A consultation has been launched on the future of some major health services in south and south-east Wales.Read the full story ›