'Sabotage' row won't go away
12:00am Saturday 20th October 2012 in News
THE row surrounding Carmarthenshire County Council’s Sainsbury’s press release accusing Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr’s Plaid Cymru MP and AM of “deliberately trying to sabotage” two new developments by the supermarket giant, continues to rumble on.
The local authority’s September 14 statement, which claimed Jonathan Edwards and Rhodri Glyn Thomas were actively “trying to stop” stores at Llandeilo and Cross Hands, was met with outrage by Plaid Cymru, who branded the comments “misleading,” “outrageous”
and “a blatant party political attack”.
Those claims have been rejected by the authority.
Plaid Cymru had attempted to question the role of the Labour-led council’s press office in the debacle at last week’s full council meeting, only to be told their motion failed to make the agenda due to an error in the accompanying documentation.
Undeterred, and with MP Jonathan Edwards watching from the public gallery, Plaid’s Darren Price tried to raise the issue during talks on the county council’s annual report and development plan.
In what was expected to be a rubber-stamping of the report, Cllr Price looked to use a section entitled ‘Making Better Use of Council Resources’ to lambast the authority’s media mouthpiece for “facilitating inaccurate and party politically motivated attacks”.
“This was a misuse of council resources,” claimed Cllr Price.
However, council chief executive Mark James and monitoring officer Linda Rees Jones acted swiftly to halt Cllr Price in his tracks.
“This does not relate to the performance plan,” said Mr James.
“The matter for debate is the content of the [development plan],” said Mrs Rees Jones.
“You are subject to very strict rules following publication of the agenda.
“There is nothing in the plan about the press release.”
Cllr Price’s attempt tomove a motion without notice, requesting the issuing of the press release be investigated, was rejected by Mrs Rees Jones.
Speaking outside County Hall, Mr Edwards claimed the meeting was “a clear indication that the chief executive was going out of his way to stifle debate on this issue”.