Responding to the comments made by Fiona Stewart, managing director and owner of Green Man Festival where she said she was “surprised” by the reaction to Welsh government spending £4.25m on a farm for the business following the meeting between Government ministers, herself and the Green Man’s lobbyist, Plaid Cymru’s Rural Affairs spokesperson Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said,
“Fiona Stewart’s comments are naive, misguided and misjudged.
“No other event or organisation has been awarded this kind of special treatment by the Labour Government where they are permitted to draft a business case in retrospect after receiving public money from government.
“The facts remain that a furtive meeting was held between government ministers and the owner of the Green Man Festival who was at that time in the middle of drawing up a business plan to justify government spending on her business, at the home of the Green Man Festival’s lobbyist, who happened to also be a former Government special advisor.
“Mr Miles’ comments are also misplaced. He and his fellow Minister, Julie James, demonstrated extremely poor judgement and left themselves in a compromising position. Governments make decisions by collective responsibility, the fact that they had no direct ministerial or portfolio involvement is not defence.
“This episode casts serious doubt on the inner workings of the Welsh Government and its attitude to transparency. Without a significant tightening of the rules Ministers will continue to have carte blanche to meet who they like when they like without anyone knowing about it. We urgently need a register of lobbyists in Wales and much greater and clearer transparency on the nature of lobbying in Wales.