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Parties clash at FMQs over election manifesto commitments for Wales

SENEDD parties clashed at First Minister Questions today over general election manifesto commitments for Wales.

The spats followed an interview shadow secretary of state for Wales Jo Stevens had given on Tuesday where she dismissed devolution of criminal justice as “tinkering” and wrongly claimed the high-speed rail project HS2 had finished when asked about consequential funding for Wales.

Plaid Cymru’s Heledd Fychan was standing in for party leader Rhun ap Iorwerth and asked Vaughan Gething about Ms Stevens’s interview, which was completely “at odds with what you have said to us today.”

Ms Fychan was also the first to mention the dodgy donations plaguing Mr Gething’s leadership: “We had expected him to secure the interests of Wales in Labour’s manifesto. Why has that been impossible for him?”

The First Minister said the Labour manifesto included a pledge over the allocation of European Union structural funds “and work to take forward the consideration of youth justice and probation.”

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies earned a rebuke from the deputy presiding officer for saying the First Minister was “talking cobblers.”

But he pressed Mr Gething about Ms Stevens’s interview and asked why the Labour manifesto did not include a pledge to commit to the electrification of the north Wales line. 

Mr Davies suggested it was because the First Minister had little or no influence with his Westminster colleagues who had marginalised him because of the campaign donation row.

Mr Gething told the Senedd: “I think you’ll find the Welsh Labour leader is far from a marginalised figure.”

He pointed to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s election launch in Wales where Mr Davies “was in the background with his arms folded.”

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