Politicians won't be reinstated to print edition Echo Extra

Five Welsh politicians whose columns were axed from a South Wales free paper have been offered the chance to instead pen articles online after they failed with an appeal to be reinstated to the weekly.

Mike Hill, editor of the South Wales Echo and the weekly free Echo Extra, declined the contributors’ plea to be reinstated to the print edition of the Extra.

Instead, he offered the two Westminster MPs and three members of the Welsh Assembly each the chance to contribute regular articles to the paper’s website after they wrote to him asking for the return of the political columns that they contributed for free.

Publisher Media Wales, a division of Trinity Mirror, axed their columns following a relaunch of the paper in August when it was renamed Echo Extra. It had previously been called the Cardiff Post.

The politicians from Plaid Cymru, the Labour party, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats had complained in September that their axed columns were ‘invaluable’ for the local community and provided a platform for ‘local politicians to highlight issues of public interest.’

Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru AM, said: “I am disappointed that the editor has taken the decision not to reinstate the columns, especially in the run up to the Westminster and Welsh Assembly elections.

“The columns provided a chance to engage with the community and show how politics has an impact on our daily lives.

“However, I will be taking up the offer to contribute my views online which goes some way to making up for the lack of a presence of political columns in Echo Extra.”

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