Labour minister Lesley Griffiths apologises over conduct to Tory AM

By David Deans
BBC News

  • Published
Media caption,

Wales' environment minister refused to answer Janet Finch-Saunders's question on flooding last week

A Labour minister who told a Conservative AM that she was not worthy of an answer to a question has apologised to the assembly.

But Janet Finch-Saunders said it was disappointing Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has not said sorry to her personally.

Ms Griffiths refused to answer a question in the Senedd from Ms Finch-Saunders about flooding last week.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said it had nothing further to add.

Last week the Aberconwy AM pressed Ms Griffiths on the time taken for financial help to be announced for people affected by Storm Ciara.

In an angry response, the rural affairs minister objected to Ms Griffith's tone, adding: "You can smirk Janet Finch Saunders, I'm not even going to look at you.

"I fact, deputy presiding officer, I don't think she's worthy of an answer."

Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones, who was overseeing the proceedings, said "okay, fine", and called the next AM with a question.

Image caption,
Janet Finch-Saunders said the lack of an apology was disappointing

In a letter to the Aberconwy AM, Ms Jones said she had spoken to the minister and "emphasised that discourteous conduct towards other members is not acceptable".

"The minister has apologised and I have accepted her apology on behalf of the assembly," Ms Jones wrote.

She added that she had asked the minister to provide a written answer to questions that were not addressed, "and I understand the minister will offer you an apology".

Ms Griffiths did write to Ms Finch-Saunders on 3 March, but did not apologise in the letter.

"She has a duty to respond to the scrutiny and challenge posed," the Tory AM said.

Ms Finch-Saunders said the lack of an apology was "disappointing" and it would have been in Ms Griffith's interest to apologise directly.

She said she would be seeking an apology through the Presiding Officer, Elin Jones.