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Friday, June 27, 2014

Absent without leave

Whatever people think about politicians, the vast majority take their job seriously, work hard for their constituents and put the interests of their area ahead of their own. That is why I was so disappointed by this story in the Western Mail which, I am afraid to say brings the whole profession into disrepute once more.

The paper reports on the continuing absence from the Assembly’s Enterprise and Business Committee of Tory Assembly Member, Byron Davies, who is boycotting meetings in protest at the decision by his group leader to sack its chair.

Mr. Davies's absence means that the Committee is one short of its full number and that the Labour group now exercise a majority on it. The government and opposition should be equally represented. It also illustrates once more the chaos that the Welsh Conservative Assembly Group is in.

The paper says that Mr. Davies has made no secret of his reason for not showing up. He told them: “I think the committee under Nick Ramsay was doing a good job in holding the Welsh Government to account and I think the group leader should not have removed him as the chair and replaced him with William Graham, who was not previously a member of the committee."

Mr Ramsay was sacked as chair by Andrew RT Davies after voting against his leader’s line on the proposal to devolve income tax varying powers to the Assembly. He was also sacked as a Shadow Minister, like three other Tory AMs who also defied Andrew RT Davies.
Asked how long he intended to boycott the committee, Byron Davies said: “Ask the leader.”
He added that he disapproved of current arrangements under which committee chairs are appointed by party leaders, rather than elected by AMs.
Labour AM Ann Jones is quite right when she says that whatever job people do there is an expectation that you fulfil the basic roles involved: "In terms of an AM, this includes attending committee, plenary and being available to take up matters for constituents. Byron Davies’ refusal to sit on a committee, following internal strife involving some of his colleagues, is a refusal to carry out one of the basic parts of his contract with the voters of South West Wales. It not only damages his reputation but that of his leader Andrew RT Davies. Byron Davies should explain to his constituents why he is refusing to represent them fully.”

As one of his constituents I would like a better explanation than the one given.  We are there to do a job and if Byron feels he cannot do it on that committee then he should relinquish his place on it. We need grown-up politics in the Assembly, not grandstanding.

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