Tidal review 'won't include anyone from Wales'

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom
Image caption Ministerial correction: Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom

As ministerial corrections go, it was definitely in the "reverse ferret" category rather than the replacement of the odd word or figure.

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom has published an intriguing official correction to her speech during a debate on plans for a tidal lagoon in Swansea.

Ms Leadsom was last week challenged by MPs about the UK government's review (by committee) of the project. She told them she was "quite sure that there will be someone from Wales on it".

Now she has replaced that commitment with: "We will ensure that Welsh interests are represented within the review."

Shadow Welsh Secretary Nia Griffith smelt a rat: "It's bad enough that the UK government has seen fit to kick this project into the long grass, but today's admission by the energy minister that there won't even be anyone from Wales on the review panel just adds insult to injury.

"This raises the very real prospect of a Whitehall stitch-up by the UK government to ensure that this vitally important infrastructure project does not now go ahead."

The timing, on the eve of the Budget, appears to be no coincidence and MPs expect the chair of the review to be named by George Osborne shortly.

'Correction'

This is the full text of the correction:

"An error has been identified in the statement Minister of State for Energy Andrea Leadsom made as part of the Westminster Hall debate on Swansea tidal lagoon on Tuesday 8 March 2016.

The Minister stated:

'As I say, the make-up of the committee is being discussed right now, and I will certainly take that point away. I am quite sure that there will be someone from Wales on it, but I cannot say for certain because we have not got the names of individual members yet. I am grateful to the hon. lady for making that point.'

What the Minister meant to say is:

'As I say, we are discussing right now the details of the review. We intend that the review will be led by an independent reviewer, supported by a secretariat of civil servants seconded into the review. We will ensure that Welsh interests are represented within the review'."

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said: "We're determined to have a balanced and independent review of tidal lagoons.

"While we're still working out the finer details, you can be sure that, when the time comes, all those with an interest will be able to have their say. That includes Welsh residents and businesses.

"We're committed to providing clean, affordable and secure energy that families and businesses can rely on now and in the future. This review will help us determine what role tidal lagoons could play in this."

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