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Governance of Elite Rugby Union

Volume 728: debated on Wednesday 1 March 2023

5. What recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the adequacy of the governance of elite rugby union in Wales. (903773)

I share the concerns of all hon. Members about the grave allegations of misogyny that have been made about the Welsh Rugby Union, and the recent contract negotiations with players have also been a matter of concern. Rugby has always been at the heart of Welsh culture and, as such, I was pleased to meet the acting chief executive officer Nigel Walker recently. He is an honourable man and well thought of. I am sure that he takes the allegations seriously and will be dealing with them.

Being half Welsh and half English, the game at the weekend can often be difficult, but I am united in being a rugby fan. In England, I have met the CEOs of premiership rugby and of the Rugby Football Union, and the Minister, to ensure good governance. What conversations has the Secretary of State had with the Welsh Labour Government to ensure that the players, fans and good governance secure rugby union and its elite stars in Wales?

Obviously, sport is a devolved matter, but I have had conversations with Nigel Walker and other members of the WRU informally. The UK Government, and I am sure the Welsh Government, were appalled by the allegations. I would be happy to work with the Welsh Government, the WRU or any other body, including the external body that has been set up to look at the issue, to ensure that the allegations are properly dealt with.

Dydd gŵyl Dewi Sant hapus, Mr Speaker. I am sure that all hon. Members are concerned about the allegations of discrimination and misogyny within the WRU that victims have come forward and said they have faced. What conversations is the Secretary of State having with his colleagues in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about the matter and the pressure that they can put on the WRU to address these serious allegations?

The hon. Lady will be aware that sport is a devolved matter, but those concerns will be shared in DCMS. Those sorts of allegations have been made about not just rugby, but other sports, so there is a nationwide problem. My colleagues in DCMS will be doing everything they can to deal with such allegations in England. I would honestly be happy to work with her, the WRU and the Welsh Government—or any other body that has some means of dealing with the issue. We must absolutely ensure that sport is safe for women, minorities and everyone to take part in without any form of discrimination.