Plaid’s blocking of e-cig statute was ‘childish’, says Jones – BBC News

29 days ago
Image caption Carwyn Jones says he faces similar gibes on a regular basis and dismisses them

Plaid Cymru’s decision to help block a partial e-cigarette banning because of a row with Labour was “childish”, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

Plaid voted against the Public Health Bill on Wednesday after minister Leighton Andrews called a previous deal with the party a “cheap date”.

Mr Jones said he was “mature enough” to dismissed similar commentaries aimed at him.

But Plaid Cymru said Mr Andrews’s commentaries were “wholly offensive” towards “cross-party co-operation”.

As well as the e-cigarette measure, the bill aimed to create a compulsory licensing system for tattooists, prohibit intimate piercing of children under 16 and necessitate councils to render a local lavatories strategy.

Plaid originally planned a free election and some of its AMs were expected to support the bill on Wednesday evening, but the party’s last minute decision to vote against it as a group meant the assembly was tied 26 -2 6 and the legislation failed to pass.

Media captionLeighton Andrews stimulated the remark when talking about an earlier deal induced between Labour and Plaid Cymru

Speaking to BBC Radio Cymru’s Post Cyntaf program on Thursday, Mr Jones criticised Plaid Cymru’s decision over “the type of joke made in the chamber every day”.

“Things get said in the chamber, including by Plaid Cymru being critical of Labour members, and if a little joke is stimulated back to them, they walk away, ” he said.

“Now we know that legislation that would have protected children on intimate piercing, ensuring tattooists are licensed, ensuring toilets are available for people has been thrown out of the window.”

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said he was “deeply disappointed” the bill would not become law.

Media captionStrong opinions over e-cigarette no vote

However, Mr ap Iorwerth told Labour AMs had felt “betrayed” by Mr Andrews’s comments and “there is no place for this kind of speech in politics”.

One Plaid Cymru said he felt “personally betrayed” by his party’s actions.

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, who supported the bill, told BBC Wales he had made arrangements to cancel out his assembly vote so he could go to the House of Lords and was not told about Plaid’s decision.

“I did not imagine that by not being present I would have helped to lose a piece of important Welsh legislation, ” Lord Elis-Thomas said.

“I’ve experienced many low phases in this fourth assembly in my relationship with the party, but this is the lowest.”

Lord Elis-Thomas said he and party leader Leanne Wood, who was against the ban, agreed to not attend the vote – known as pairing – meaning their absences would cancel one another out from the tally.

He also described Mr Andrews’s comment as “political banter” which had “nothing to do with the qualifications of the Public Health Bill”.

A Plaid Cymru spokeswoman said: “Dafydd Elis-Thomas had asked to be paired so that he could be in the House of Lords.

“Therefore he wasn’t in the group meeting[ Wednesday] afternoon when the unanimous decision was taken.”

Lord Elis-Thomas has previously criticised his own party under its current leadership and was later told he would have to induce “compromises” after a meeting about his political future.

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