NEWPORT East MS John Griffiths has hit back at Liz Truss after the Conservative Party leader candidate criticised Mark Drakeford for scrapping plans for an M4 relief road.

Ms Truss made the disparaging remarks at a hustings in Cardiff on Wednesday.

At the hustings, Ms Truss, who is running against Rishi Sunak to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister, said: "The fact is there are too many people in this country who are ashamed of our history, who talk our country down, who say the best days are behind us.

"They are completely wrong. I’m afraid one of them is Mark Drakeford.

"Whether it’s stopping the M4 relief road, whether it’s whacking a tax on our tourist industry, I will crack down on his negativity about Wales and about the United Kingdom.

“With delivering for people on the ground, with making a real difference to people’s lives, we will be able to take on the plastic patriot Sir Keir Starmer and we’ll be able to take on the low energy version of Jeremy Corbyn that is Mark Drakeford.”

Plans for a M4 relief road to ease congestion around Newport were rejected by the First Minister in 2019.

Mr Drakeford cited environmental factors influenced his decision, but ignored the recommendations of a planning inspector after a £44 million public inquiry that took 18 months to complete.

However, conservation groups praised the decision as the road would have passed through the Gwent Levels.

Responding to Ms Truss' comments, Labour MS Mr Griffiths said: "Our Gwent Levels are very precious and once again it is sad to hear arrogant Conservative politicians at Westminster suggesting they would pour concrete over them in the midst of a climate emergency.

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"As chair of the Gwent Levels Working Group, I am very proud of the progress the Welsh Government and other organisations such as the Living Levels Partnership are making to protect and enhance this unique and historic area.

"It will not be undone by the next Conservative prime minister, who like Boris Johnson, was threatening to ride roughshod over Welsh devolution and the decisions we make here."