A rocky start to life for the Lab-Lib Government has hit another bump this evening, as questions to the Welsh Secretary and Welsh Government resulted in divergent claims from both parties over the status of Port Talbot talks. The fate of Port Talbot and the thousands of jobs have been in uncertainty as the region and factory face hard times. The Welsh government has long sought assistance from Westminster to save these jobs and support the local economy but relations between Wales and Westminster over the fate of Port Talbot and the extent of support have been strained.
In response to questions from Telegraph journalist Tres Commas, newly appointed Welsh Secretary NeatSaucer said that the government was “doing it’s level best to save all jobs at Port Talbot”. NeatSaucer also went on to say they were “in discussions at present” with the Welsh Gov, and that the Welsh Gov had been “co-operative”. He went on to say “We are discussing implementing the Unity Plan and exploring other solutions to save our workers, so yes.” The Unity plan refers to prospal to support Port Talbot which has yet to be approved by Parliament or the Welsh government as of yet.
Conversations between that Telegraph journalist and the First Minister of Wales SecretarySalami have placed the Welsh Secretary’s account into question however. The First Minister said that while the Secretary “contacted us to schedule a meeting”, no meeting had taken place. The First Minister was keen to praise the Welsh Unity Governments plans on Port Talbot, saying “it will go a long way in saving jobs in the area and at the steel mill”. When asked once more “Has there been any discussions concerning the unity plan between you and the new WM govt ?” The Secretary once again responded clearly saying “No not yet.”
This comes as another source of tension for the Phoenix government has just into the first few days of their tenure the government has run into troubles with leaks that put into question their Brexit strategy and direction for the government. Yesterday the Government expelled the former EFRA Secretary on grounds he was leaking sensitive government information. It has been stormy waters for the new government, with the Queen’s Speech still yet to be presented to the House.
The conflicting accounts from Cardiff Bay and Westminster are a fresh headache for Lily’s government, who have endured a subpar start to the government. NeatSaucer will likely now face further questions and scrutiny over his handling of talks between himself and Cardiff Bay.
The LabLib Coalition and the Welsh Government have been reached out to for comment. This post will be updated when comment is provided.