- By Adrian Browne & Gareth Lewis
- BBC information
A no confidence vote in the minister who led the introduction of Wales’ new 20mph pace restrict has did not move.
The Conservative movement, in opposition to Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters, was simply defeated by 42 votes to 16, after no different events backed it.
Before the vote, Mr Waters mentioned he understood “lots of people are angry and frustrated” and “we are listening”.
But Conservative transport spokeswoman Natasha Asghar instructed Mr Waters he ought to go “before you cause any more damage”.
The discount in the pace restrict got here in earlier this month, and makes 20mph the default in built-up areas, reasonably than 30mph.
The change was a Welsh Labour manifesto pledge.
Local councils can apply for exemptions, however Mr Waters has mentioned some are “reluctant” to take action as a result of authorized issues.
The Conservatives desire a decrease pace restrict round locations similar to colleges and hospitals, however not elsewhere.
The Senedd debate, on Wednesday night, started in a heated method however turned extra measured in direction of the tip.
Ms Asghar accused the minister of “pushing ahead with this flawed policy without any care for businesses, emergency services, nurses, carers and motorists”.
“In a short time opposition to the move has exploded, with a petition calling for the £33m project to be axed growing at an astronomical speed,” she mentioned.
“In fact, just before standing up in front of you all in this chamber today, more than 440,000 people have added their name to the ever-growing petition.”
Mr Waters mentioned he understood that “lots of people are angry and frustrated”.
“My message to the more than 400,000 people who have signed a petition is simple, we are listening to what you’re saying,” he mentioned.
“We understand that not everybody likes this and we are willing to be flexible and how this is implemented in your local community.”
He promised to “work with local authorities to help get it right” however mentioned that “it was never going to be perfect on day one”.
The minister careworn: “Speeds are already down and, as a result, we can expect to see fewer accidents, fewer casualties, fewer deaths, fewer tragedies, a little bit slower but a whole lot better.”
Labour Caerphilly Senedd member Hefin David praised Mr Waters, who he mentioned had “stood up and been counted”.
“He’s taken everything on the chin and he’s had a series of threats against him.”
“This man has done nothing other than keep his promise, that’s what he’s done, that’s why this is absolutely absurd.”
Plaid Cymru’s Delyth Jewell known as the Conservative movement “cynical”.
“We can have disagreements on policy but personalising politics in this way is courting something perilous and politics demands something better of us,” she mentioned.
In an emotional speech, former Plaid Cymru chief Adam Price regretted the tone of the general public debate across the situation and recalled the dying of his cousin Malcolm in Carmarthenshire 51 years in the past.
Mr Price mentioned the five-year-old was killed after being hit by a automobile whereas crossing the highway.
“In preparation for this debate, I went on a private pilgrimage yesterday to the spot the place Malcolm died.
“I noticed the brand new 20mph signal 100 yards or so away, it had already been daubed with paint.
“And I thought to myself what have become when this sincere, decent, principled attempt to save the lives of children and others is a catalyst for so much anger and hate.”
Speaking to BBC Wales forward of the vote, Mr Waters mentioned the row over the diminished pace restrict has change into private and accused the Welsh Conservatives of “personalising” the problem round him, which he known as “unpleasant”.
On Tuesday, First Minister Mark Drakeford revealed he had acquired threats to his security over the brand new regulation.
South Wales Police mentioned it was investigating.
Conservative Senedd group chief Andrew RT Davies mentioned he had additionally acquired abuse over his stance on the brand new regulation.
Senedd arithmetic meant this movement was sure to fail.
The 20mph regulation was in Labour and Plaid Cymru’s manifestos.
It would have required a screeching U-turn for any of their members to vote in opposition to Lee Waters.
That will not shock the Conservatives.
This is a part of a broader technique to attempt to persuade drivers that the Tories are in your aspect.