Wales politics

Planted question bid 'abuses system', Tory leader claims

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Media captionAndrew RT Davies says there is something 'fundamentally wrong'

Attempts by a Welsh government adviser to plant ministerial questions with Labour AMs are an "abuse of the system", the Welsh Tory leader claims.

Andrew RT Davies urged the first minister to "rein his special advisers in" after the Conservative AM found the evidence in emails mentioning him.

One email sent to Health Minister Mark Drakeford said questions could be passed onto AM Christine Chapman.

The Welsh government said it was "fairly shocking" it was seen as news.

Ms Chapman has been asked to comment.

Mr Davies had asked under data protection laws for details of any written correspondence to or from Welsh ministers naming him between January and July 2014.

'Government's bidding'

His request followed the sacking of Environment Minister Alun Davies in July 2014 for asking civil servants to obtain private financial information about leading opposition AMs.

Image caption The email suggests questions that Labour AMs could put to Health Minister Mark Drakeford

One of the responses was an extract of an email sent on 18 March 2014 by a Welsh government special adviser to Mr Drakeford, due to answer AMs' questions the following day.

Under the headline "Yet more extras", it said: "I've asked Labour to pass on the supplementary [question] about prescription charges in England - mindful of comments from Labour AMs today.

"I will see if Christine [Chapman] wouldn't mind asking about DTOC [Delayed Transfers of Care] as she's not happy about the suggested supplementary on patient complaints/negative perceptions of NHS following today's exchange between the FM [first minister] and Andrew RT Davies."

The suggested questions were not in fact asked in the Senedd, but Mr Davies said: "Labour members are obviously clearly doing the government's bidding for them, directly supplied by special advisers which are paid [for by] the taxpayer."

A spokesman for the first minister said: "It is fairly shocking that this is considered news, either by the BBC or the Welsh Conservatives, and shows a complete lack of understanding of how governments work, right across the UK."

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