First Minister and Health Board have "serious questions to answer" over sharing information
Plaid Cymru's Adam Price AM and Jonathan Edwards MP are in talks with lawyers after the First Minister used today's session of First Minister's Questions to release both incorrect information and the details of correspondence between Hywel Dda Health Board and their constituency office.
During a heated exchange on hospital reorganisation in west Wales, Adam Price AM took the First Minister to task over leaked proposals to strip back services in west Wales hospitals. The First Minister responded by releasing details of e-mails between Mr Price, his office and the Hywel Dda health board, and stated Mr Price had not responded to requests to meet with the Health Board.
Mr Price said the First Minister was completely incorrect, and that his office holds a series of e-mails with the Health Board to arrange a meeting.
Furthermore, legal advice sought by the Plaid Cymru AM notes that the health board is may have breached Mr Price's data protection rights, and those of his parliamentary colleague, Jonathan Edwards MP.
Speaking after the exchange, Adam Price AM said:
"The First Minister's actions during today's questions session bring his office and his Government into disrepute. His comments in the Chamber today are factually incorrect, and the First Minister has therefore misled the Assembly.
"It wasn't that long ago a Welsh Government Minister was sacked for trying to access information that could have been used for political purposes to discredit political opponents. On the face of today's exchange it would appear the First Minister and/or his team have tried to do the same thing. This is clearly a breach of both the Civil Service and Ministerial Code.
"The legal advice I have been given notes that Hywel Dda Health Board is potentially in breach of the data protection rights granted to myself, my parliamentary colleague Jonathan Edwards, and our staff members.
"At my request, the Chief Executive of the Health Board came to Assembly to meet with me this evening in which I presented evidence of correspondence between our offices and my requests to meet with him.
"In an endeavour to restore trust I am sure the Health Board will now wish to correct the record."
Adam Price's parliamentary colleague, Jonathan Edwards MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr added:
"This is the latest reminder that there is something rotten at the core of this Labour Welsh Government.
"Either they are soliciting information from a independent health board for political purposes, or the health board has been compromised in a manner which sees it comfortable referencing correspondence between elected representatives.
"I will be seeking to raise a Point of Order on this matter in the House of Commons at the earliest possible opportunity to establish what guidance is available to elected representatives who have their data breached by any public body or government official in this manner.
"The First Minister's claims that Adam Price and I ignored Health Board requests for are meeting are manifestly untrue and we have written evidence to prove that. The First Minister is clearly buckling under the pressure of several inquiries into his and his government's conduct - he is running out of options and soon to be out of office."
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