Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sainsbury saga; Kev accused of spreading "blatant lies"

As the Sainsbury's row rumbles on, it seems that 'no one is available' from the Council to appear on BBC Radio Cymru's Taro'r Post programme. Plaid MP, Jonathan Edwards threw down the gauntlet to the Leader of Carmarthenshire Council Kevin Madge to debate the supermarket call-in. There is no news yet either whether the Leader will join in a public debate with Rhodri Glyn Thomas over the issue.
After having seen Kev in action in the Council Chamber I suspect he'd have trouble debating himself out of a wet paper bag.
Still, despite the 'no one available' line, Kev was available to appear on BBC Wales news this morning, (pre -recorded yesterday at County Hall, I believe) to give his opinion. He's finally realised that it was of course his Labour colleagues in the Welsh Government who decided on the call-in.

As one commenter has said about the Planning Committee meeting where the applications were discussed;
"There was no discussion...most of the meeting was taken up by officers reading turgid reports that the councillors should have already read, digested and questioned. They seemed content to let officers take the big decisions". 
This, as we well know. applies not just to planning but also to just about everything else too, and also applies to councillors of all political colours.

The supermarket debate is an important one but equally important is the use of the taxpayer funded council website to launch political attacks, and for that matter its use as a platform for multinational businesses such as Sainsbury's.
The article in question remains online with the misleading title 'Sainsbury plans to open two new stores'. As the planning applications were submitted last year it is not exactly news.

The Plaid Cymru office has just issued a stern statement demanding he "should retract his comments and issue a full public apology for the use of a publicly funded press office to spread blatant lies". It will be interesting to see how far Plaid will push this if he doesn't.

Here's the full statement from Plaid;

Facts expose Council Leader’s disingenuous comments 
The office of Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM has exposed the attack from Council Leader Kevin Madge last week as a ‘complete fabrication of the truth’ after it emerges the Plaid Cymru politicians made no representations to the Welsh Government regarding the Sainsbury’s planning application in Cross Hands. 
In a press statement last week the Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Councillor Kevin Madge, issued a ferocious attack on the Plaid Cymru MP and AM, accusing the pair of “deliberately trying to sabotage” the development of a doctor’s surgery, health centre and care home in Cross Hands and school improvements to Ysgol Maes yr Yrfa. Councillor Madge also accused the politicians of being responsible for the planning applications being “called-in” by the Welsh Government. 
Over the weekend Mr. Edwards and Mr. Thomas responded by noting that applications which are called-in are done so by the Welsh Government Minister. Mr. Edwards and Mr. Thomas also noted that the comments they raised with the Minister were a direct reflection of the representations their constituents had made. 
Today, Tuesday 18th September, Councillor Kevin Madge seemed to have realised his error and appeared on television and radio programmes to attack his Labour Welsh Government colleagues for calling in the applications. 
Further developments this week show that neither Mr. Edwards nor Mr. Thomas made any representations to the Welsh Government on the Cross Hands development. 
A spokesperson for Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM said: 
“Mr. Edwards and Mr. Thomas made representations to the Welsh government, on behalf of their constituents, which related to technical planning concerns that were brought to their attention regarding the Llandeilo application. The decision to call in the application by the Welsh government appears to back up those concerns. 
“For Councillor Kevin Madge to suggest that the elected members have deliberately tried to sabotage investment in a doctor’s surgery, health centre and care home in Cross Hands is a complete fabrication of the truth. On no occasion have the members requested the application in Cross Hands be called in. 
“Councillor Madge’s comments are simply untrue. They are inconceivable and inexcusable comments which are not fitting for the leader of the local authority. Councillor Madge should retract his comments and issue a full public apology for the use of a publicly funded press office to spread blatant lies.”

As a commenter has reminded me, the regional AM for Mid and West Wales, William Powell (Lib Dem) also requested that the Llandeilo application should be called in, (like the Plaid MP and AM, he didn't refer to the Cross Hands store). His request, made in March, can be seen here;


Odd that Kevin Madge didn't mention this in his council press release.

1 comment:

Siren said...

Having seen Councillor Madge on the BBC this morning and again this afternoon, I suspect he might also have difficulty debating a string bag made of sodden cotton wool.