Drakeford accused of ‘tone deaf’ response to criticism of Loach event appearance
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Drakeford accused of ‘tone deaf’ response to criticism of Loach event appearance

Welsh First Minister didn't address his decision to speak at a fringe event with the left-wing filmmaker after an angry letter from one of his constituents expressed 'disgust'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Mark Drakeford
Mark Drakeford

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has failed to address his decision to speak at a fringe conference featuring the controversial film maker Ken Loach in response to a letter from angry constituent.

Drakeford, who is also leader of Welsh Labour, confirmed in a response that he had accepted an invite to speak at The World Transformed event on September 27 in Brighton.

Loach – who was last month auto-excluded from Labour over his membership of a proscribed organisation – is also amongst the speakers booked for the four day event – which coincides with the official Labour conference.

A Cardiff South and Penarth resident, who asked not to be named, had written to Drakeford last week to express their “disgust” he was billed to appear at an event with the film director who they added was “the same Ken Loach of ‘Perdition’ fame.”

The constituent added:”First Minister, I hope your inclusion in this event is a mistake … and you will make a public statement and apology.”

But in his response, Drakeford failed to mention Loach by name and instead added: “I am pleased to be able to put on record once again my very firm views that there is no place for antisemitism in Wales or in Labour.

“I  have accepted an invitation to speak at a fringe event at the Labour PArty conference later this month, diary permitting, about a Welsh pilot of universal basic income – a policy which was part of the We;sh Labour manifesto…. The conversation would be with a Welsh Labour MP and an economist.”

The local consitituent said Drakeford’s response to their email was “tone deaf.”

The First Minister then added:”Conference is always an opportunity for us to show the rest of the party what a Labour Government can achieve for people.”

The World Transformed is an event launched under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – but is backed by groups such as Momentum, Unite and the CWU union.

Loach’s name appears near the top of the list of speakers at this year’s conference – despite his expulsion for involovement with the Labour Against The Witchhunt group, accused of downplaying or denying antisemitism in Labour.

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