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Plaid peer apologises for Auschwitz comment

Plaid Cymru peer Lord Wigley has apologised for "any offence caused" after comparing the effects of a Trident submarine base to those of a Nazi death camp. Lord Wigley had been commenting on reports - denied by the Government - that the nuclear weapons system could be relocated from Scotland to Wales.

Credit: ITV News

The peer made clear that Plaid would be "tremendously opposed" to shifting the base from Faslane naval base to Pembrokeshire.

Asked whether the move would have some positive benefits, such as bringing jobs to the area, Lord Wigley - a former leader of the party - replied: "Look, this week we have been remembering what happened in Germany before the war, no doubt there were many jobs provided in Auschwitz and places like that but that didn't justify their existence and neither does nuclear weapons justify having them in Pembrokeshire."

In a statement released later, Lord Wigley said: "I am certainly sorry if my remarks were open to any misinterpretation and I apologise for any offence that has been caused. The point I was trying to make was that you can't have jobs at any cost and I reiterate that."

More: MOD insists no plans to move nuclear subs to Wales

Labour attacks Plaid's 'Vote Green' call

Labour have responded to Plaid Cymru's 'Vote Green' call by accusing the party of arrogance and failing to stand up for Wales. The party's issued a statement from its candidate in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr criticising Lord Wigley's comments.

The latest Welsh poll shows that this election is a race between Labour and the Tories with just one in ten people in wales considering supporting Plaid.

Rather than arrogantly telling people in England who they should vote for, Plaid politicians would do well to focus - as Welsh Labour are - on standing up for Wales against the Tory-led UK government.

– Calum Higgins, Labour PPC

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Green leader welcomes Plaid's Vote swap call

Wales Green Party Leader Pippa Bartolotti welcomes Plaid's vote swap call

The Green Party leader in Wales has welcomed Plaid Cymru's call for Welsh voters in England to consider voting Green. Plaid's Election co-ordinator Dafydd Wigley says the two parties share values and aims and would work together in parliament in parliament to try to force concessions from whichever party or parties form the UK Government. You can see Lord Wigley's comments by clicking here.

He's also said that he's not expecting Greens in Wales to return the favour and vote Plaid, although he'd like them to consider the option. The leader of the Wales Green Party, Pippa Bartolotti, says voters in Wales and England are looking for a change.

I’ve a great deal of time for Dafydd Wigley. He’s telling people to vote Green because he knows that Green policies and Green politics are essential for this country to pull away from austerity and turn the agenda towards protecting and helping the next generation who will be trapped in an impoverished world of dwindling resources.

Support for the Green Party in Wales is growing at an unprecedented rate. Voters in both England and Wales know that Punch and Judy politics must be consigned to the dustbin of history, and we must quickly move to a more inclusive, more thoughtful and more progressive kind of politics where the needs of everyone are properly considered. That means no more politics for the vested interests of the few.

– Pippa Bartolotti, Wales Green Party Leader

Vote Green if you're Welsh and live in England, urges Plaid Cymru peer

People from Wales living in England should think about voting for the Green Party in the General Election, according to the man in charge of Plaid Cymru's election campaign.

Lord Wigley says the two parties, along with the SNP share many of the same values and will work together after the election to win concessions from whichever party is in government.

He says he's not expecting Green supporters in Wales to vote Plaid (although he'd like them to consider it!) but he told our Political Editor Adrian Masters that it makes sense for Plaid-leaning voters living in England to lend their support to the Greens.

  1. Nick Powell

Support for new motorway tested in Senedd vote

There's no agreement on the best solution to congestion on the M4 around Newport Credit: PA

Conservative AMs will force a vote in the Senedd today on whether there should be a review of the Welsh Government's plan to build a new motorway south of Newport to relieve pressure on the existing M4.

The £1 billion project is highly controversial, both because of its cost and because of the environmental impact on the Gwent Levels wetlands. Some business groups prefer the idea of upgrading the existing Southern Distributor Road to a motorway, arguing that it would be a cheaper and quicker solution.

That's angered residents who live near the distributor road who fear the noise and pollution that might be caused by a motorway. Now the Conservatives' transport spokesman, Byron Davies, says he's not convinced that a full motorway is required and that more modest improvements might be enough to relieve pressure on the M4.

It doesn't have to be a motorway.

– Shadow Transport Minister Byron Davies AM

That's roughly in line with what the Liberal Democrats have been arguing, while Plaid Cymru oppose spending such a major part of the transport budget on just one road scheme.

There's also been opposition from some Labour AMs, including two former ministers. So it would appear that most Assembly Members at least have doubts about the project. The Welsh Government has already conceded that construction work won't get the go-ahead before the 2016 Assembly election.

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Council mergers plans for Wales rejected

Public Service Minister Leighton Andrews has rejected all three of the plans for voluntary mergers put forward by local councils. The proposals would have seen six councils become three ahead of the scheme for compulsory mergers which Labour plan to introduce if the party wins the 2016 Assembly election. They were:

The bridge over the Clwyd, which separates Denbighshire and Conwy, Credit: ITV News
  • Bridgend to merge with the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Torfaen to merge with Blaenau Gwent
  • Conwy to merge with Denbighshire

The proposal from Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan broke guidelines that a new authority shouldn't cross health authority boundaries or include areas entitled to different levels of European aid.

The Torfaen-Blaenau Gwent merger was seen as partly an attempt to pre-empt a forced three-way merger combining both councils with Caerphilly.

Conwy and Denbighsire appeared to fit in with the Welsh Government's own thinking but the council leaders had made it clear that they would only go ahead if the costs of merger were fully funded by Cardiff Bay.

I welcome the leadership shown by the political leaders of each of the authorities concerned and their willingness to help shape their futures. I understand that securing agreement from their prospective partner councils took a good deal of work and personal commitment.

I have considered each Expression of Interest carefully against the criteria set out in the Prospectus. I am disappointed to report that on the basis of this assessment I am not persuaded that any one of these Expressions of Interest sufficiently meets the criteria for moving ahead to prepare a full Voluntary Merger Proposal.

– Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews AM

There will now be a rethink on whether to go ahead with legislation that would have enabled voluntary mergers to take place.

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