A Conservative Senedd member has called for a lobbyist register in Wales, after Welsh ministers were found to have attended a "social event" with a Green Man boss shortly before the festival received a multimillion investment from the government.

It came after First Minister Mark Drakeford ordered an inquiry into the May dinner between Green Man festival owner Fiona Stewart, lobbyist Cathy Owens, climate change minister Julie James and education minister Jeremy Miles.

“I think it’s very welcome that Mark Drakeford has called for this inquiry," James Evans, MS for Brecon and Radnorshire, where the festival is held, told the BBC's Sunday Supplement show.

READ MORE: Fears £4 million Powys farm could be used for mass tourism events like festivals

"People need to see that meetings between lobbyists and others are above board and decisions are taken in a transparent way.

“It opens up wider questions, doesn’t it, about what interaction politicians have with lobbyists who are lobbying on behalf of their clients.

“I personally believe we should have a lobby register for Wales that involves every politician in the country.

"We need to work on how it’s implemented, but I think that’s something we need to see, so that the people of Wales have assurances that when we’re making decisions, they’re done in the best interests of the people, not the best interests of companies."

As the dinner was "informal", both Julie James and Jeremy Miles were able to leave the meeting undeclared.

That same month, the Welsh Government announced that, in order to ensure a "permanent home" for the Green Man festival in Wales, it had purchased a Powys farm for £4.25million.


It's understood that Green Man would run the site not as a new location for the festival itself, but as a sustainable farming enterprise - though the Welsh Government had received no business plan from Green Man at the time of the purchase.

James Evans MS added: “[Ministers] are very entitled to attend social events, but when those events are organised by lobbyists, and they’ve got a client there, you do wonder - is that a social event?

“If you’re a minister meeting a lobbyist, and a company, I don’t think that’s an informal meeting, personally - unless they’ve got personal relationships with them.

“I have no issue with the Green Man Festival - I have an issue, here, with the £4.25m that was paid out, without a business plan in place, without any due diligence on the site.


“All this has been done under a big cloud, and no-one really quite knows exactly what the Welsh Government did in buying this site, or what pressure was put on them to buy it."

On Saturday, The Western Mail newspaper revealed that a dinner between Welsh Government ministers and Green Man's Fiona Stewart had been hosted by Cathy Owens of Deryn Consulting, a PR firm which lists the festival among its clients.

Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru's spokesperson for rural affairs, said that the incident raised "serious questions" about the judgement of both ministers.

“This could to be a serious breach of the Ministerial Code," he said.

"This clandestine dinner was held in May, with two senior Government Ministers, one of whom has a direct interest in the project, a month before the company was due to present their business plan to justify the Government's purchase of the farm.

“If these reports are accurate, it cannot be right that Government Ministers have furtive meetings with interested parties at such a critical time.

"We need a full disclosure of any notes taken at that meeting, and complete transparency around the contents of those discussions.

“This will drain public confidence in the government, and the First Minister must accept that this was a breach that will not be tolerated, and set an example.”

A spokesperson for the First Minister said: "Whilst ministers attended this social event in a personal capacity, the first minister has asked the permanent secretary to look into the circumstances surrounding their attendance.

"The first minister has also asked the permanent secretary to consider if any amendments need to be made to the ministerial code to ensure all interaction with lobbyists is appropriately recorded."

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