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Cameron 'expects' Wales Bill in Queen's Speech

The Cabinet meets for the first time since the General Election, with Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb expected to have a Wales Bill ready for the Queen's Speech Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA

Welsh Government sources say David Cameron has told Carwyn Jones that he expects the Queen's Speech to include a Wales Bill devolving further powers to the Welsh Government and Assembly.

The Prime Minister and First Minister had a "cordial" phone conversation, in which David Cameron seemed surprised by suggestions from opposition parties that the bill won't be included in the legislative programme read out by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament.

The two men are said to have spoken about the work they need to do together to secure the future of the United Kingdom, as well as other devolution issues. Carwyn Jones will meet Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb later this week for the first time since the election.

The vow to Scotland's been kept, claims Cameron

Major new powers for the Scottish Government and Parliament will be spelt out today. They're the result of the "vow" made by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in the final days of the Scottish independence referendum campaign, as they sought to save the UK at a time when polls were suggesting that Scots might vote to leave the union.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for Wales to be offered the same powers as Scotland. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The three leaders committed their parties to enacting the new powers after the Westminster election but they also promised to publish the details of the legislation before Burns Night, on 25 January. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for Wales to be offered the same powers and the UK Government is aiming to publish a cross party agreement before St David's Day on 1 March.

The Prime Minister will be in Scotland today and will meet the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The SNP leader has already said that the cross-party agreement for Scotland on which the legislation will be based does not amount to Home Rule. She claims that's what Scots were promised if they voted against independence. Mr Cameron is expected to make a speech challenging her version of events.

"In September the people of Scotland came out in record numbers to decide the future of the United Kingdom. They voted clearly and decisively to keep our family of nations together. But a ‘no’ vote did not mean ‘no change’.

The leaders of the other main political parties and I promised extensive new powers for the Scottish Parliament – a vow – with a clear process and timetable.

We said we’d get cross-party agreement by St. Andrew’s Day – and we did. We said draft legislation would be published by Burns Night – and here we are, three days before the celebrations start, with those clauses before us."

– Prime Minister David Cameron MP

The Prime Minister will claim that whoever forms the UK Government after May 7th, these new powers are guaranteed. He'll argue that the Scottish Parliament will determine how 60% of public money is spent in in Scotland and for the first time most of the money spent by the Scottish Government will come from taxes raised in Scotland. The package will include control of part of the welfare state, worth £2.5 billion.


Cameron's Royal Welsh pledge on food

Prime Minister David Cameron, who's visiting the Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd, has announced plans for the UK Government to buy locally sourced seasonal food whenever possible. The Welsh Government already has a similar scheme.

In England, it's estimated that the public sector spends £1.2 billion a year on food, half of which is imported. The Prime Minister expects that most of the imported food could be replaced by British produce, much of it locally sourced.

No-one does more or works as hard in Wales and the rest of Britain today than our farmers. By opening up these contracts, we can help them create more jobs, invest in their businesses and make sure people in Wales have a healthier lifestyle. It’s a triple win –and will mean a brighter future for our country.

– Prime Minister David Cameron MP

Unions call for PM to apologise over NHS attack

The NHS celebrates its 66th anniversary today

Trade unions representing around 400,000 workers across Wales have today condemned political attacks aimed at the Welsh NHS and called on the Prime Minister to apologise for describing Offa's Dyke as a 'line between life and death'.

In a public statement, marking the 66th anniversary of the NHS, unions are warning that political attacks have already damaged morale within the service and risk 'driving a wedge between patients and staff.'

Wales TUC unions within the health service represent thousands of NHS Wales workers ranging from nurses, paramedics and consultants to porters and physiotherapists.

Wales TUC General Secretary Martin Mansfield said:

"Today we should feel proud that the NHS was made in Wales, proud of the advances made and doubly proud of our committed and talented health workforce. We know that, despite political attacks from UK politicians, NHS workers have the support of the Welsh public.

"Of course there are challenges and resources are stretched, but our members see the reality of an excellent service striving to be even better in the wards, surgeries and clinics right across Wales. It is time that their voice is heard."

A Downing St spokesman said:

“The PM has set out his view on how the NHS is run in Wales and he stands by that.”

Prime Minister: 'the NHS in Wales is not in a good state'

David Cameron has said that the Andrews Report into care failings at two Welsh hospitals is concerning and needs to be studied. During his weekly question session in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said 'the NHS in Wales is not in a good state.'

It's the latest in a series of regular attacks on Labour's running of the health service in Wales made by the Conservative leader. He told MPs that Labour should be 'getting a grip... and sorting out the NHS.'

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