February 2, 2012

Plaid Cymru accuses Labour MPs of undermining Welsh Government over energy powers

Western Mail, www.walesonline.co.uk 1 February 2012

Plaid Cymru has accused Labour MPs of undermining their own Welsh Government by voting against a move to devolve decision-making powers over big energy projects.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards’ bid to introduce a Bill in the House of Commons was defeated by Tory and Labour MPs on Tuesday evening.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for energy policy to be devolved to the Assembly.

Mr Edwards claimed the snub was evidence of a lack of faith in Mr Jones’ administration among Labour MPs.

“It is extraordinary to see Labour MPs from Wales teaming up to vote with the Conservatives against a motion that would empower the Welsh Government which they run,” he said.

“Do they just not trust Carwyn Jones with these powers?

“My bill was simply titled ‘Energy Generation Wales’ and, although our policy is for full transfer of powers to Wales, it would have been open for other MPs to amend and put forward their own suggestions.

“This was an opportunity for Labour to introduce proposals from the manifesto on which their Welsh Government was elected last year but their MPs in London seem strangely keen that Wales should not have these powers.

“When you see the Conservatives and Labour walking through the lobbies together in London then you know that they are doing something which is good for Westminster, not for Wales.

“It is a strange world where Labour would so obviously rather have the Conservatives in charge of energy in Wales than take responsibility for it themselves.

“In 2012 alone, Labour MPs from Wales have voted in favour of NHS privatisation, a reduction in farming subsidies for Wales and now against Wales having the same energy powers as Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“If Carwyn Jones can’t persuade Welsh MPs to support his policies, then it makes you wonder if he has any influence on his own party – never mind his complete failure to influence the Tories in charge at Westminster.”

But Ogmore Labour MP Huw Irranca-Davies said: “Unfortunately Jonathan’s proposal was not so much pro-Wales as pro-mischief.

“We are in favour of devolving power over renewable energy projects up to 100MW to the Welsh Government, and six months ago I moved an amendment to that effect to the Energy Bill. Unfortunately the amendment was not debated. We could not however support this open-ended and vague Plaid proposal, which would have included power over nuclear energy projects.

“I am sure that if Jonathan comes up with a better thought-through motion in future, Labour’s front bench would give serious consideration to backing it.”

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/02/02/plaid-cymru-accuses-labour-mps-of-undermining-welsh-government-over-energy-powers/