Welsh Secretary David Jones criticised for 'devolution disrespect'
SHADOW Secretary of State for Wales Owen Smith MP has accused Welsh Secretary David Jones of "disrespecting devolution."
Mr Smith criticised Mr Jones ahead of their first meeting across the Despatch Box on Wednesday following three new legislative decisions made by the new Cabinet Minister. Mr Smith has claimed that the Welsh Secretary has chosen to intervene on legal matters "very selectively" and "only when it suits his anti-devolution mindset."
The Shadow Welsh Secretary has hit out following the decision by the Wales Office to refer the Official Languages Bill, passed recently by the National Assembly for Wales, to the UK Attorney General.
Mr Jones said: "In this instance, David Jones was more than ready to intervene but, on other matters, such as ensuring ballot papers for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections are printed bilingually and on changing the way Assembly Members are elected, there's been a deafening silence."
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Mr Smith also pointed out the Welsh Secretary's refusal to scrap proposed changes to the electoral arrangements of the National Assembly for Wales.
He said: "The Wales Office had no mandate to introduce in the first place and which should have long been rendered obsolete."
He also described Mr Jones's handling of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections as "cavalier" and claimed he had shown a "complacent and indifferent" response when asked why the necessary legislation still hasn't been laid.
Mr Smith said after the Welsh Secretary was questioned on the need for legislation to be passed so that the elections could be conducted on a fully bilingual basis, Mr Jones said: "The reasons why the Welsh Forms Order is yet to be laid is a matter for the Home Office."
Mr Smith said he was looking forward to challenging the new Cabinet Minister on issues that are important to Wales.
He said: "David Jones has had three big decisions to make since being promoted to the Cabinet and, on each occasion, he's acted counter to Welsh interests.
"Twice he could have intervened to stand up for Wales — by scrapping proposals to gerrymander Assembly elections and by instructing the Home Office to pass the law needed for bilingual ballot papers. Instead he chose to disrespect devolution with the former and add to the long, and growing, list of Tory incompetence with the latter.
"By bypassing his duty on these two occasions and selectively intervening to refer Assembly legislation to the Attorney General, David Jones has done nothing to dispel the widely-held view of him as an out-of-touch anti- devolutionist."
Swansea Council's Conservative leader Paxton Hood-Williams said he believed Mr Jones was working in the interest of Wales.
He added: "I have already heard him say he wants to work closely with the Welsh Government and in particular with (First Minister) Carwyn Jones.
"Obviously, if the economy is going to improve in Wales, the Welsh Government needs the support of the Westminster Government to do that with the resources available — essentially they need to work together."