Wales politics

Labour AM accuses Plaid politician of 'conspiracy' thinking

Neil McEvoy and Lee Waters
Image caption Lee Waters (R) said Neil McEvoy risked bringing an assembly committee into disrepute

A Labour assembly member has accused a Plaid Cymru committee colleague of being a conspiracy theorist.

Lee Waters said Neil McEvoy had suggested a "great party political conspiracy theory" was behind various matters the Public Accounts Committee had investigated.

Mr Waters warned against the committee becoming a "circus".

Mr McEvoy said he was "not surprised" Mr Waters "wants to brush the failures of his government under the carpet."

Speaking in a Senedd debate about the committee's work, Mr McEvoy suggested former economy minister Edwina Hart or the first minister should be called to give evidence on several issues the committee had looked at.

Image caption Lee Waters criticised the way Mr McEvoy conducts himself in the committee room

They included the Welsh Government's financial support for failed companies, its sale at a loss of two shops in Pontypridd and the RIFW land deals.

"We need to get serious about ending financial waste in Wales, and I think the public accounts committee is the perfect place to do that," said Mr McEvoy .

"I'd ask the chair if he would accept my call to put to the committee the suggestion of a forensic investigation into all these matters, because Labour incompetence is endangering devolution, and we have to shed light on these matters and bring transparency."

Mr Waters responded: "It's imperative it [the public accounts committee] doesn't become a circus.

"I have no problem following any evidence and in holding governments to account with rigour but that requires all members to take the committee seriously, to engage in its work, read the voluminous papers in advance, to engage with the evidence.

"Not to spend the whole committee meeting tapping away at their iPhones then lobbing in some partisan-fuelled conspiracy theory, because that I think brings the committee into disrepute."

Mr Waters said that "when there is evidence we must follow it" and "we should be ruthless in pursuing it".

Image caption Neil McEvoy listening to Mr Waters's comments about him

Following the debate, Mr McEvoy told BBC Wales: "I'm not surprised that Lee wants to brush the failures of his government under the carpet because he's a Labour AM.

"It's becoming a consistent theme now that when I challenge Labour on the issues their AMs resort to smears and personal attacks.

"I've highlighted £53m that the taxpayer has lost thanks to Labour incompetence - this isn't some conspiracy theory."

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