Wales

Alun Davies attacks UK ministers in BBC board veto row

Alun Davies

A row between Welsh and UK ministers that has left an empty chair on the new BBC board is a "textbook example of how not to do it", broadcasting minister Alun Davies has told AMs.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) wanted to appoint businesswoman Dr Carol Bell to represent Wales on the board.

But Welsh ministers vetoed this and the post will now be re-advertised.

Mr Davies said a DCMS email confirmed stronger candidates were available.

The email was from the department's most senior civil servant, Permanent Secretary Sue Owen.

Mr Davies also said he had been given 24 hours' notice of the intention to appoint Dr Bell, and his request to discuss other candidates had been rejected.

"This is a text-book example of how not to do it," he said.

Image caption Dr Carol Bell is not commenting on the row

In a letter to UK culture secretary Karen Bradley outlining why he was using the Welsh Government's veto, Mr Davies said he felt "dismay" at being forced to either agree to her appointment or reopen the search for a candidate, rather than opt for one of the two remaining names on the shortlist.

It added he would have been "happy to appoint either of the other two candidates," and that Ms Bradley had created "a situation entirely of your own choosing that could easily have been avoided".

He went on to say that future appointments of this sort should be treated as a "joint venture" between governments in Westminster and Cardiff, and the process for selecting the Wales representative on the BBC board had lacked "respect" for the Welsh Government.

The UK government has been asked to comment.

Dr Bell, a former member of S4C's governing authority, has said she will not be commenting on the matter.

It emerged the Welsh Government had vetoed the preferred candidate to represent Wales on the new BBC Board last week.

Dr Bell has a background in the oil and gas industry and is a former managing director of the Global Oil and Gas Group at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

She is also a trustee of the National Museum of Wales and Wales Millennium Centre and a member of Cardiff University's council.

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