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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
Arts minister censure vote fails
Professor Dai Smith (L) and Alun Pugh
Alun Pugh (R) has defended Dai Smith's appointment procedure
An attempt by the Conservatives to censure the culture minister in the Welsh assembly has failed.

Alun Pugh had been accused of "bungling incompetence" in his handling of the appointment of a new chairman of the Arts Council of Wales (ACW).

Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats abstained in the vote, saying a censure motion was inappropriate.

Mr Pugh insisted he had not broken the ministerial code of practice on public appointments.

The Tories tabled the motion after Mr Pugh appointed Professor Dai Smith as the interim chair of the ACW.

It follows a row begun in January when Mr Pugh said the council's former chairman - Geraint Talfan Davies - would not be automatically re-appointed when his term ended in March..

Geraint Talfan Davies
Geraint Talfan Davies's term as ACW chairman ended last month

Mr Pugh said he wanted a chairman who would increase access to the arts but Mr Davies, a former BBC Wales controller, said he had effectively been sacked.

The motion was defeated, with 11 Conservative votes in favour, 13 abstentions by Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats, and 29 Labour votes against.

Nick Bourne, leader of the assembly Tories, used the debate to criticise Mr Pugh for failing to distance himself from "intolerable comments" made by his special adviser about the Welsh language and the Welsh Language Board.

Although they did not vote, both Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones and assembly Lib Dem leader Mike German accused the minister of mismanagement.

Mr Pugh said "such serious procedures should not be used as party political knockabout".

This was the seventh censure motion to be brought against a Labour minister since the assembly was set up in 1999, and most have failed.

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16 Jan 06 |  South East Wales


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