Wales politics

Torrid week for Carwyn Jones

Carwyn Jones
Image caption Opposition parties sense Carwyn Jones's reputation could now be damaged

It may be a bit early to describe the past seven days as Carwyn Jones worst week as first minister - but few have been as quite as controversial.

The opposition parties are claiming already that the events of the past week raise serious questions about not just Alun Davies's judgement, but also that of the first minister.

Last week the first minister resisted calls to sack Mr Davies, despite concluding that he had broken the Ministerial Code by lobbying in favour of a £280 million project to develop a motor racing circuit in his Blaenau Gwent constituency.

Now it has emerged that a day after being reprimanded Mr Davies broke the code again - this time by asking for information about possible subsidies received by five opposition assembly members who have farming interests.

Mr Davies asked for the information twice - despite have been warned by a senior civil servant on the first occasion that the request was inappropriate.

The first minister is said to be angry and disappointed at Mr Davies's conduct and he almost certainly regrets not having forced the minister's departure last week.

On that occasion, Mr Davies's transgression could have been portrayed as a misguided attempt to help his constituents.

Asking civil servants to disclose information about political opponents is another matter entirely.

Image caption Alun Davies says he will now concentrate on his constituency

The last few weeks before the summer recess is traditionally a torrid time for government, at both ends of the M4.

Carwyn Jones will be ruing his decision last week to defend a minister who commanded little affection even from colleagues on his own benches.

The opposition parties are certain to press home their advantage and, with Labour's support in Wales already slipping in the polls, they sense that Mr Davies's departure could be a serious blow to the first minister's reputation.

As for Mr Davies, it seem unlikely that he will be able to stage a ministerial comeback and he himself admits that he will be concentrating his efforts on his Blaenau Gwent constituency from now on.

Just last week a Welsh newspaper ran an article titled "Could Alun Davies be the next First Minister?"

If they didn't know the answer then - they do now.

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