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Franchise Row: First Minister urged to put party interest aside

The First Minister has been urged to adopt a more constructive approach to his administration’s relationship with the UK Government.

It follows a public row over delays to the new rail franchise in Wales, which the UK Government has said is the result of a failure to resolve at least seven key outstanding issues for which the Welsh Government has responsibility.

A similar row emerged earlier in the year over delays to the M4 relief road and changes to traffic forecasts, and there are serious concerns that an “aggressively party political approach” risks damaging Welsh economic prospects – according to Shadow Economy Secretary, Russell George AM.

Mr George said:

“That political dynamic is there because we have governments of different political colours at opposite ends of the M4, but there is no reason why both can’t work together constructively in Wales’s best interests.

“At times, however, it feels that the First Minister’s aggressively party political approach is doing the Welsh economy more harm than good.

“At the end of the day, rail users want to see progress on the new franchise – not a pantomime row in the media; and motorists simply want an end to the years of gridlock on the M4.

“The First Minister needs to put party interest aside and work constructively for the good of the country as a whole.”