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Former Plaid Cymru AM Nerys Evans steps down

The former Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Nerys Evans has withdrawn as a candidate for next year's election.

It's understood Nerys made her decision for 'personal reasons' Credit: PA

She was the party's candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.

Her decision not to stand for election is understood to be for personal reasons, and she remains Deputy Chair of Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru has reopened nominations in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire for the 2016 Assembly elections.

This follows Nerys Evans' decision to stand down as a candidate for personal reasons. Nerys Evans will continue to be the party's Deputy Chair and will play a key part in our campaigns. Plaid Cymru wishes Nerys the best of luck.

– Party spokesperson

Assembly Members' pay rise to cost £700,000 a year

Welsh Assembly Members will receive a £10,000 pay rise after next year's election - taking a basic salary to £64,000.

The panel which decided the pay hike justified the new salaries by saying Senedd politicians were taking on more responsibilities than ever before.

Watch: This is what you had to say on the matter of Welsh Assembly members pay rise:

Assembly members have voiced their own unease at the plans - which come during a time of continued cuts to public spending and the squeeze on taxpayers' budgets.

The pay increase is expected to cost taxpayers about £700,000 more next year.

First Minister and Labour AM Carwyn Jones said he could not see how his party would support the increase. Under the scheme, Mr Jones' pay will increase to £140,000 while his cabinet members will receive £100,000.


Welsh Assembly politicians get £10,000 pay rise

An independent panel has set a pay increase of 18% for Welsh Assembly Members.

AMs basic pay will rise from £54,000 to £64,000 in 2016.

Justifying the increase the board say AMs' work has changed and looks very similar to what MPs do.

The 18% pay rise comes into effect next year. Credit: PA

Our duty is to ensure that there is financial support in place that attracts the best people to put their names forward for the role of Assembly Member and that support is available that enables elected Members to best perform their role in scrutinising legislation and the Welsh Government.

Where we have found barriers that dissuade people from standing for election, we have tried to address them.

– Renumeration Board of The National Assembly for Wales

The increase has been criticised by Assembly Members themselves and Trade Unions.


New Conservative AM for South Wales West sworn in

A new Assembly Member for South Wales West has been sworn in at the Senedd, replacing Byron Davies, who stood down after becoming MP for Gower.

Dr Altaf Hussain, a retired orthopaedic surgeon, takes his place as a Conservative regional AM, without the need for a by-election.

Dr Altaf Hussain says improving the NHS will be one of his priorities. Credit: Welsh Conservatives

Dr Hussain also stood at the general election, finishing third behind Labour and UKIP candidates in Swansea East.

He was born in Srinagar, Kashmir, and worked for the NHS for 25 years, before retiring in 2009. He has been involved in campaigning for the Welsh Conservatives since then, and is also a school governor.

I am honoured to be serving South Wales West as an Assembly Member and I am committed to continuing the determined work of my predecessor.

I relish the opportunity to be an incredibly strong voice for my region.

With a background in medicine and medical science, it will be no surprise to hear that one of my main priorities will be continued work to ensure improvement of the National Health Service in Wales.

– Altaf Hussain, South Wales West Assembly Member

Welsh MPs meet for first day in Parliament

Newly-elected Members of Parliament will meet for the first time today since winning their seat in the general election.

A total of 40 MPs from Wales will head to Westminster for the first official meeting Credit: PA

Wales will be sending three more Conservative MPs to Westminster than in 2010.

It follows victories in the Gower, Vale of Clwyd, and Brecon and Radnor.

Despite this, Labour still has a strong hold in Wales and sends 25 MPs, 11 represents the Conservatives, three for Plaid Cymru and one for the Liberal Democrats.

At the first meeting, the MPs will get to vote to elect a new speaker of the house.

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