The First Minister of Wales may have misled Assembly Members in 2014 over his awareness of allegations of bullying within his own office, according to the Welsh Conservative leader has said.
Andrew RT Davies has called on Carwyn Jones to refer himself under the Ministerial Code, which he claims appears to have been broken.
In November 2014, Darren Millar AM submitted a Written Assembly Question to the First Minister asking:
Has the First Minister ever received any reports or been made aware of any allegations of bullying by special and/or specialist advisers at any time in the past three years and, if so, when and what action, if any, was taken?
The First Minister responded saying: No allegations have been made.
But during First Minister’s Questions today, Andrew RT Davies challenged the First Minister on this issue. He said:
So, can you confirm that – not like the answer you gave Darren Millar back in 2014 – that these allegations were raised with you, and that you did investigate them at that time?
In reply, the First Minister said:
“What I can say, is that any issues that were brought to my attention at that time were dealt with, and that’s what the answer was given and that answer is correct, back in 2014.
“If, however, there are other issues that people want to bring forward then they are welcome to do so, but he asked me a direct question: Were these issues… were any issues raised with me dealt with? The answer to that is yes they were dealt with.”
Speaking outside the Chamber, Andrew RT Davies said:
“The First Minister’s comments suggest that he may have misled Assembly Members over his knowledge of allegations of bullying within Welsh Government.
“Today, in direct contradiction to his assertion three years ago, he revealed to the Chamber that issues of bullying were in fact brought to his attention and that he dealt with them personally.
“In light of this very troubling revelation, I call on the First Minister to refer himself under the Ministerial Code so that this apparent breach of the rules can be properly investigated.
“Given that Carwyn Jones is the sole arbiter of the ministerial code, he should, as Alex Salmond did in 2012, appoint an independent Whitehall mandarin to set in motion an independent investigation.
“A healthy and functioning democracy cannot and must not tolerate politicians, especially leaders, who are less than truthful, and Assembly Members deserve answers as to why the First Minister knowingly withheld from them information of such gravity.”