Politicians want their columns reinstated to Echo Extra

A group of five Welsh politicians from across the political spectrum has appealed to the editor of the South Wales Echo to reinstate them as columnists.

Two Westminster MPs and three members of the Welsh Assembly wrote to editor Mike Hill asking for their political columns to be reinstated to the Echo’s free weekly paper, the Echo Extra.

Publisher Media Wales, a division of Trinity Mirror, axed the columns following a relaunch of the paper in August, it also changed the name of the paper from the Cardiff Post to the Echo Extra.

Politicians from Plaid Cymru, the Labour party, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats said the columns they wrote for free were ‘invaluable’ for the local community and provided a platform for ‘local politicians to highlight issues of public interest.’

The initiative was initiated by Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood.

She wrote: “We are very disappointed particularly in the wake of growing concern that many members of the public are increasingly disillusioned by politics and recent revelations surrounding politicians’ expenses…

“As you will know the UK general election is less than nine months away and the Welsh Assembly elections will take place in 2011.

“We believe that political columns play an important role in engaging people in politics, and the impact of decisions by politicians affect all our lives.”

Cutting the columns has been seen as yet another blow to the demoralised Welsh media.

Last week Trinity Mirror announced the closure of three Welsh papers – two dailies and a weekly, the Wrexham Chronicle.

The move led the Welsh Assembly to express its concerns about the deterioration of Welsh media in recent months.

A Media Wales spokesman said: “We informed the AMs and MPs in question before we took this move and the editor will be responding to their letter in due course.”

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