Wales politics

Carwyn Jones should not vote on bullying probe, say Tories

Carwyn Jones Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Carwyn Jones is facing Tory calls not to take part in Wednesday's vote

Carwyn Jones has been urged to abstain from voting in a debate on what he knew about bullying allegations within the Welsh Government.

Labour is expected to block a Tory bid to trigger an assembly-level inquiry.

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said it would be a "blatant" and "damaging" conflict of interest for the first minister to take part.

The first minister said he was not afraid of an independent advisor looking into the allegations.

Ex-minister Leighton Andrews and former adviser Steve Jones have alleged there was a "toxic" atmosphere in the previous Welsh Government.

AMs will vote on Wednesday on a Tory proposal, supported by Plaid Cymru and UKIP AMs, to instruct the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister to hold its own inquiry into what Mr Jones knew and did about the allegations.

Mr Jones referred himself to a separate independent inquiry into claims of bullying in the Welsh Government after the proposal was tabled last week.

Mr Davies said: "What's not acceptable is for the first minister to vote in a debate about his own behaviour, as that would be a blatant and very damaging conflict of interest.

"For the sake of his own reputation, and to retain any integrity in the process, he simply cannot be judge, jury and executioner."

Mr Jones told the Welsh Conservative leader in the chamber on Tuesday that he was "not afraid of an independent adviser looking as to whether I've breached the ministerial code, because I'm confident that I have not".

"I don't know why he is so afraid of an independent process," he added.

The ministerial code is the set of rules that govern how ministers conduct themselves.

Image caption Andrew RT Davies said Carwyn Jones cannot be "judge, jury and executioner"

Opposition AMs are expected to unite in backing the Tory demand for a committee inquiry on Wednesday afternoon - but independent AM and UKIP MEP Nathan Gill is expected to be in Brussels.

During the debate, Labour will table its own proposal for a vote which, if successful, would prevent the Tory demand for an inquiry from coming to fruition.

The party, which leads the Welsh Government, currently has the support of more AMs than the opposition. Sources in Labour on Tuesday were confident that their amendment will pass.

Mr Andrews made his allegations against the Welsh Government in the wake of the death of Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant, who was found dead days after he was sacked from the Welsh Government.

The former Rhondda AM claimed there was "minor bullying" and "mind-games" during his time in government.

Mr Jones has faced accusations that he misled the assembly in 2014 when he told Tory AM Darren Millar that no bullying allegations had been raised with him.

He told AMs last week that he never dealt with any "specific allegation" of bullying within the Welsh Government.

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