A Labour minister failed to answer a series of important questions from the Welsh Conservatives – just 24 hours after the First Minister pulled a similar stunt.
Joel James, the Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Social Partnership, grilled his Labour counterpart about the recent High Court ruling on testing in care homes and the Future Generations Commissioners’ frivolous spending.
However, Jane Hutt failed to give a straight answer and instead swerved the questions by filibustering.
Joel James asked Hutt for her analysis of the High Court ruling and if she’d back the Older People’s Commissioner’s calls for a Wales-specific public COVID inquiry.
Hutt replied by saying she had regular meetings with the Commissioner but wouldn’t be drawn on the calls for a Welsh probe.
Joel James also questioned Hutt over the Future Generation Commissioner’s recent spending at a time when she complains her office is cash strapped.
He told the Senedd: “We have heard time and time again about just how cash-strapped the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales thinks her budget is. But we then see her wasting money on a UBI feasibility study and research into a four-day working week.
“Only recently I was scrolling through social media when I stumbled across a music video about the Future Generations Commissioner and the work her office does. I wouldn’t even like to imagine how much money was spent on that – and it was quite a cringeworthy video.
“Minister, in light of the Commissioner’s comments about being strapped for cash, do you agree with me that splashing out on a music video is not the best use of her budget, funded by the Welsh taxpayer?”
But once again Hutt failed to answer the question.
Hutt’s failure to answer an important set of questions came just 24 hours after the First Minister appeared to be “lost for words” when he dodged questions from the Welsh Conservatives over care home testing and the need for a Wales-specific public COVID inquiry.
Speaking outside the chamber, Joel James – who is also the MS for South Wales Central – said:
“I am beyond disappointed with the minister’s response - or rather the lack of response – to a set of serious questions which need answering.
“Swerving questions seems to be an art form finessed by Labour ministers in Cardiff Bay of late, but it has to stop. The public deserve straight answers – not filibustering.
“The takeaway points from today’s exchange are that this Labour Government believes its actions throughout the pandemic shouldn’t be put under a microscope and properly scrutinised, and that the Commissioner has Labour’s blessing to waste money while at the same time pleading poverty.”