The Labour party is in “complete disarray” over its M4 plans, said Veronica German after the First Minister sacked a Labour AM as a committee chair after she spoke out against the plans.
Jenny Rathbone said an "unhealthy culture" at the top of the government stopped AMs from speaking out on issues. Another AM and former Minister Alun Davies has said he's disappointed at the sacking and that Labour AMs should be “free to debate these matters”. Labour’s Deputy Leader of Flintshire Council has also called for a vote of no confidence for the First Minister.
Last year the Welsh Liberal Democrats secured an agreement with the Welsh Government that “no construction of an M4 relief road would start before the next Assembly elections.”
Veronica German, Welsh Liberal Democrat Lead Candidate for South Wales East said:
“For members to break ranks now shows how desperate Welsh Labour are becoming. There must be an election coming, as never in the past 4 years has she spoken out against Labour’s disastrous running of our health service, our schools or Cardiff Council.
“The Labour party is in complete disarray. They long have had a culture of stifling debate and avoiding scrutiny and this has clearly caused resentment.
“The chances of the Welsh Government ever getting a strong enough majority to force through its plans are slim to none. It’s time the Government accepted this.
“In budget negotiations, the Welsh Liberal Democrats used our influence to ensure that no construction of the M4 relief road will start before the next Assembly elections and that a detailed Environmental Impact Study into the project will be commissioned.
“Our proposed alternative is less expensive, less likely to damage vast swathes of our environment and academically recommended. It will invest in public transport, not just tarmac, and reduce congestion by taking cars off the road.
“It’s for all these reasons that we ensured no final construction contracts would be awarded this side of the Assembly election, meaning the entire project can still be scrapped by the next Welsh Government.”
The wording of the budget agreement secured by the Welsh Liberal Democrats includes:
The Welsh Government has made a decision to use some of its borrowing powers to build an M4 relief road around Newport (borrowing powers will also be used to fund infrastructure investment in North, Mid and West Wales) and a preferred route has been identified. However the Welsh Government recognises the objections and concerns about aspects of the plan.
Both parties have agreed that no construction of an M4 relief road would start before the next Assembly elections.
They have also agreed with the Welsh Liberal Democrats to commission a detailed Environmental Impact Study on the Welsh Government preferred route before any detailed design work begins. The Welsh Government maintains that they are open to reviewing their position dependent on the outcome of the study and any public inquiry. Both will be considered in detail before deciding how to proceed.