Welsh Conservatives turn to Government of Wales Act to force publication of leak inquiry report
Welsh Conservatives have tabled a new motion calling on the Welsh Government to publish the leak inquiry report using powers available to the National Assembly under the Government of Wales Act.
In accordance with Section 37(1)(b) of the Government of Wales Act 2006, the National Assembly has the power to require a person to produce for the purposes of the Assembly (or a committee of the Assembly or a sub-committee of such a committee) documents in the possession, or under the control, of the person, concerning any matter relevant to the exercise by the Welsh Ministers of any of their functions.
Welsh Conservatives have been left with no other option to pursue this course of action following the Permanent Secretary’s refusal to publish the report. In February, the National Assembly voted in favour of a Welsh Conservative motion – supported by Plaid Cymru – calling on the Permanent Secretary to publish the leak inquiry report, with the appropriate redactions to ensure anonymity of witnesses. However, in a letter to Assembly Members last month, Dame Shan Morgan told AMs that the report would not be made available.
The motion will be debated in the Senedd next Wednesday.
Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew RT Davies, said:
“The will of the National Assembly has been very clear when it comes to publishing the leak inquiry report, but regrettably the First Minister and the Welsh Government continue to ignore it.
“Sadly, we’ve been left with no other option but to pursue the legal route so we can ensure the democratic process is respected.
“Various comments by a number of individuals indicates information regarding last November’s reshuffle was shared with people outside of government prior to Ministers themselves being informed, and there has been no satisfactory explanation, to date, as to how this happened.
“If there is nothing to hide then there is no reason why a redacted version of the report, protecting the identity of witnesses, cannot be published.
“If the Assembly backs the motion, the Welsh Government would be in breach of the law if they continued to withhold the report, and to do so would leave our democracy in dangerous territory.”
NDM6702 – Assembly / Opposition Debate
Tabled on: 11/04/2018
For debate on: 18/04/2018
To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:
1. Notes the letter from the Permanent Secretary, dated 16 March, in relation to motion NDM6668, which was agreed by the National Assembly for Wales on 28 February 2018.
2. Regrets the failure of the Permanent Secretary to comply with the wishes of Assembly Members.
3. Acting in accordance with Section 37(1)(b) of the Government of Wales Act 2006, requires the Welsh Government’s Permanent Secretary to produce for the purposes of the Assembly, with appropriate redactions to ensure anonymity of witnesses, the report into the investigation on “whether there is any evidence of a prior unauthorised sharing of information – i.e. a “leak” – by the Welsh Government of information relating to the recent Ministerial reshuffle".
The order paper is here: http://record.assembly.wales/OrderPaper/Motions/18-04-2018?type=NDM