Front-runner to be First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford is now having to defend comments indicating that he is  “sceptical” about nuclear power

As all three contenders in the Welsh Labour Leadership race voted last month to dump  mud from the Hinkley Point nuclear complex off Penarth – it might have seemed as if nuclear power would not  be an issue in the battle for the Wales Labour leadership …but it is now.

The Geiger counter crackled back into life when the front-runner in the leadership contest –  Mark Drakeford – was debating nuclear power in a hustings in Newport last night and referring to comments made by rival leadership candidate Baroness  Eluned Morgan.

Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth)

Baroness Eluned Morgan

For the second time this week it appears Drakeford – in another knuckle-knawing moment – has used an unfortunate choice of words – although perhaps was being more honest about what he really thinks of nuclear power than his rivals Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) and Eluned Morgan.

Drakeford explains that  he was rebutting what he called Eluned Morgan’s “belief that  nuclear power is somehow an advantage to the environment.” and had retorted “Tell that to the people in Chernobyl, tell that to people in Fukushima! [ both locations of major nuclear power station disasters].

Amid groans of disapproval from the debate audience, Drakeford went on to say  “You may not like it, but YOU wouldn’t like it if you were living there either, and being told this was the way that your environment will be safeguarded for the future.”

A graphic impression of the new Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station on Anglesey

This alleged faux-pas is now being eagerly seized upon by his two rivals (Baroness Morgan and Cardiff South and Penarth AM  Vaughan Gething) as showing a lack of commitment to the controversial new Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station project on Anglesey – a second nuclear power station at the Wylfa site which could yield thousands of new jobs .

Gething and Morgan claim that Drakeford is  “sceptical” about nuclear power, and assert that this could damage the prospects of the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear project . Hyping up the issue for all it’s worth, Vaughan Gething  said Mr Drakeford’s comments would be “deeply damaging” to Wylfa Newydd .

Currently Mark Drakeford is the Welsh Labour Government’s Finance Minister and is seen as the front-runner in the contest for the Labour leadership in Wales – and if elected would automatically become First Minister. The ballot process began today.

Drakeford retaliated by criticising the “leak” of dialogue from the apparently “private” meeting to the BBC as  “highly biased and partisan” and said  no-one should rely on it to judge his views. Drakeford also pointed out his campaign for the Labour Leadership had been endorsed by none less that the Labour MP for Anglesey Albert Owen.”If that doesn’t tell you that the idea that my views are somehow hostile to Wylfa is not true, then I don’t know what else I can do to persuade you”, he said.

Stirring the pot today was Vaughan Gething supporter Hefin David  – who is Labour AM for Caerphilly. Mr David said “In these difficult times we should think carefully about the words we use. There is a certain recklessness in this comparison that I’m sure wasn’t intended by Mark Drakeford.”

Meanwhile Stephen Doughty the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth announced that he had cast his leadership election vote in favour of Vaughan Gething


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  1. Max Wallis says:

    Good on Drakeford for reminding these pro-nuclear rivals of Chernobyl, Fukushima etc.nuclear accidents. Low probability but huge consequences for Anglesey and Wales.
    Eluned Morgan says she’s been persuaded – this just shows how she’s stuck with outdated argument. The National Infrastructure Commission (July report) studied options for decarbopnising the UK electricity system by the 2050 target date.
    They compared hugely costly nuclear with renewables – largely off-shore wind turbines – whose power price is ~£50 /MWh compared with £90/MWh for nuclear. Tidal lagoons power come higher price. Wind power is less gappy and combines with storage options. Overall, they found that renewables are more flexible,and achievable sooner, so the UK should build no more (or no more than one further) nuclear plants after Hinkley Point C.
    With Eluned Morgan ignorant of modern assessments of nuclear – and that Teresa May’s plans for a fleet of nuclear power plants are failing badly – she’s showing incompetence to be FM. Vaughan Gething seems to have no environmental nous, looking just for jobs and development or – before the Newport audience – catching out his opponent..

  2. Philip Rapier says:

    Now I am more convinced than ever that Mark Drakeford loves Wales more than his ruthlessly ambitious careerist opponents. Vote for Mark Drakeford and build a Green Wales with a future for your sons -daughters and Grandchildren

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  3. Jp says:

    Good for Mark Drakeford,Wales does need good jobs, but not at the price of the risk of a nuclear energy disaster. Put the money into something else, that’s absolutely safe.

    Gosh, it’s frightenig how much old Geiger Gething loves his nukes!

  4. Racist Mark (aka Mark Foster) says:

    To stand for First Minister of Wales you need to be a natural born citizen of the country and have the blood of Owain Glyndwr flowing through your veins. Vaughan Gething, born in Zambia, can have no appreciation of Welshness just as Obama growing up in Indonesia could have no appreciation of what it means to be an American. If you were subjected to Indonesian culture in Jakarta in your formative years you would understand exactly what I mean. If Gething becomes First Minister it will hasten the end of you Welsh, especially your poor working class. You will deserve everything that happens to you.

    • Max Wallis says:

      What a parody of racist views! Even the dumbest know it’s not “blood” but DNA that’s inherited. Owain Glyndwr sons were all killed, but his DNA might have continued through daughters and illegitimate children Probably spread in England and further. It might be possible to follow through Owain’s DNA – but how horrific to conceive of compulsory vetting of “real” Welsh on this base and excluding those descending only eg. from Boudicca!

      • Racist Mark (aka Mark Foster) says:

        The use of the term “Blood” and Owain Glyndwr is an allegory. Of course anybody who has read the History of the Russian Revolution by the Jewish intellectual Leon Trotsky whose real name was Lev Davidovich Bronstein knows that Racism is a political tool originally utilised by the Bolsheviks to destroy the Russian Aristocracy and put themselves who were largely Diaspora Jews in their place. Trotsky argued that the indigenous Russians did not deserve to survive as a people because they were “Racistes” giving their support to immigrant Germans like Catherine the Great.

        Max you should read and study more outside the confines of British conformist academia and the BBC. You would then understand for example that the origins of the First World War were in the Austro Hungarian Empire suppression of the legitimate nationalist aspirations of the Serbian people.

        So it goes on. Welcome to World War 3.

        Lets see if this post gets censored.

    • I don’t think that GG is any better or worse than the other candidates. It’s just a case of choosing the least worst which is a tough decision.

  5. Peter says:

    Well done Drakeford – respect.
    We need shot of the likes of Doughty and Geiger Gething.

Comments are closed.