Commenting on her dismissal as Chair of the All Wales Programme Monitoring Committee of EU funds, Jenny Rathbone, Labour Assembly Member for Cardiff Central said:
“Following my intervention on the issue of the M4 Relief Road in the media last week, the First Minister has dismissed me from the role of Chair of the All Wales European Programme Monitoring Committee, for speaking out publicly.
“In the Labour Group meeting on 13 October, I reiterated my call for a debate within the Group on this massive spending commitment. I am disappointed that no such debate has yet taken place and there is no commitment by the First Minister to allow this to take place at some future date. I remain confident that my views are shared by the majority of Labour AMs, even if they are not encouraged to express them.
“Since appointed in July 2013, I have enormously enjoyed chairing both the European Programme Monitoring Committee 2014-2020 from its inception as well as the European Programme Monitoring Committee 2007-2013 which is winding down as the 2007-2014 projects reach a successful conclusion.
“I recognize the right of the First Minister to choose who he wants to carry out the important role as Chair of the European Programme Monitoring Committee. I am however disappointed that he has chosen to sack me for speaking out on a matter that is unrelated to this role.
“I believe I have a duty as an elected representative to ensure there is value for money for my constituents in Cardiff Central and the people of Wales as a whole. On this particular road scheme, I cannot remain a silent bystander whilst tens of millions of pounds are wasted on a scheme which is unlikely to see the light of day.
“The events of the last 24 hours have confirmed in my mind there is an unhealthy culture at the top of the Welsh Government which does not allow for rigorous debate and reflection on the best use of public funds. Independent thought is not tolerated by AMs and if someone does step out of line, they are ruthlessly dealt with. This is not a good way to make difficult decisions.”