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Friday, 4 February, 2000, 16:25 GMT
MP attacks 'limp wrist' Assembly

Paul Flynn Paul Flynn accuses Assembly of "dithering"

A south Wales MP has launched a fierce attack on the way the Assembly is being run.

Newport West MP Paul Flynn described the devolved body as "the limp wrist of dither and dawdle plus a few giant embarrassments".

On top of this, Mr Flynn has angered farming unions which accuse of him of making "stupid" remarks about the number of farm suicides in Wales.

The main reason why there's a large number of suicides among farmers is because they have shotguns handy
Labour MP Paul Flynn

During a BBC Radio Wales Ceredigion by-election programme, he said there were more suicides than ever before.

"The main reason why there is a large number of suicides among farmers is because they have shotguns handy," he said.

Returning to the subject of the Assembly, Mr Flynn said Mr Michael should be allowed to return to Westminster "where he was blissfully happy as a junior minister".

He challenged Mr Michael to acknowledge that he did not defeat Rhodri Morgan fairly in last year's leadership election.

He accused him of dithering over the payment of council allowances, allowing Cardiff councillors to walk all over him.

AM Kirsty Williams: Called for apology
The comments about farmers arose following a blockade supermarket distribution centres in Bristol and Warrington on Thursday, in protest protest over imports of foreign meat

Mr Flynn dismissed the action as "propaganda".

"Day after day, relentlessly, they block roads, they demonstrate, they are a very small part of our economy," he said.

"They are in trouble without a doubt, there are suicides but no more suicides than there have ever been in farming."

Farmers Suicides among farmers have risen

Director of NFU Cymru Wales Malcolm Thomas reacted angrily to the Mr Flynn's comments.

"It's stupid and shows how out of touch Labour is with rural Wales," he said.

Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire Kirsty Williams - who highlighted the plight of many farmers in her constituency - also called for an apology.

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See also:
02 Feb 00 |  Wales
Farmers' plea reaches Downing Street
26 Jan 00 |  Wales
Brown promises to back Welsh farmers
18 Jan 00 |  Wales
Farmer tells his own story
17 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Mowlam has changed drugs debate - MP
16 Dec 99 |  Wales
AM's tears over farm suicides

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