Live updates

  1. Nick Powell

Carwyn Jones announces plans for smacking ban after slap-down for UKIP

Carwyn Jones' nomination as First Minister was briefly delayed while the Presiding Officer heard objections from the UKIP AM Mark Reckless. He argued that Plaid Cymru should not be allowed to withdraw the name of its leader, Leanne Wood, without a further vote. But Elin Jones ruled against him.

Carwyn Jones said there would be no new legislation in the next hundred days, whilst the Assembly develops new procedures in line with the Labour-Plaid Cymru agreement. However he said there would in due course be a new law put forward to ban parents from hitting their children. It would abolish the defence of "reasonable chastisement". Carwyn Jones also said there would be a new Public Health Bill, replacing the one that was defeated at the end of the last Assembly. He did not say if it would include a fresh attempt to restrict the use of e-cigarettes.

Wales does not want for ambition. Wales does not want for brilliance. And if the last few days are anything to go by, Wales does not want for excitement either. It is our job, collectively, to make real that ambition. To turn that brilliance into sustainable success and growing prosperity for all. And where we have excitement, let’s make sure it comes with results. We have given the media, the Welsh historians, and the commentariat plenty of what they want – theatre and intrigue. It is time now to give the Welsh people what they want, and expect. Good governance, delivery and respect.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Plaid Cymru: Why we were right to block Carwyn Jones

The Plaid Cymru Group in the Assembly has set out its reasons for Leanne Wood challenging Carwyn Jones' nomination as First Minister,

On May 5th, Wales chose not to elect one single party to govern Wales with a majority. As is the convention, the biggest party were given an opportunity to reach an agreement on forming a government which could lead Wales with the support of the majority of members in the National Assembly. They took the decision not to pursue that option, and were not prepared to give the process of negotiation any further time. As a result, the Plaid Cymru group followed normal Parliamentary protocol and nominated Leanne Wood for First Minister. Carwyn Jones was informed of this decision yesterday. Since that time, and as far as Plaid Cymru is aware, there have been no formal discussions, agreements or deals pursued between any party. This afternoon, the Assembly failed to reach agreement on who should become First Minister and form the next government. It is now for the parties to discuss this matter further in order to seek the best outcome for Wales.

– Plaid Cymru Group Spokesperson

Advertisement

Plaid Cymru say more help needed for 'thousands' of steel workers facing potential redundancies

Leanne Wood says Welsh Government could do more Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

The Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said the Welsh Government should do more on the steel crisis.

Her comments came, following reports that hundreds of jobs could go at TATA Steel in Wales.

“The Welsh Government has the ability to take action, but is choosing not to. This will be of no comfort to the thousands of steel workers across Wales who are facing potential redundancy when Tata makes its announcement later this week.

– Leanne Wood AM, Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru wants to see the Welsh Government:

  • Establish a taskforce to look at protecting jobs
  • Temporarily nationalise parts of the industry to protect workers

The Welsh Government say they have worked consistently hard for the steel industry:

No one has worked harder for the steel industry in Wales than the Welsh Government. We have consistently championed Welsh steel makers and lobbied the UK Government and the EC on their behalf. It is well known that Tata, like the rest of the steel industry, has been facing extremely challenging operating conditions, but we cannot comment further at this time on what is unconfirmed speculation and rumour.”

– Welsh Government spokesperson
  1. Nick Powell

Welsh Labour deserve to lose despite Corbyn says Wood

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has told her party's conference that Wales needs a change of government, replacing what she called a "tired, incompetent, Labour regime". She told delegates in Aberystwyth that Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader had changed nothing about the Welsh Government.

The Labour leadership may have changed. But one thing doesn’t change. And that is the undeniable need for a change of government in Wales. Be under no illusion – a change at the top in Westminster does not undo Labour’s poor record here.

The UK Labour leader will, we are told, be coming to campaign against the Party of Wales despite voting with us more often than his own party in Parliament.

Remember, he’ll be calling on people here to back a Welsh Labour Government, who not only defended Trident nuclear weapons but called for their relocation to Wales.

– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM

Plaid claim they can form a government on their own after the Welsh election next May, though they admit they probably can't achieve an overall majority in the Senedd. No party has ever managed that. The same was true in Scotland until the SNP went from minority government to total domination of Scottish politics. The SNP's leader, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was in Aberystwyth to urge Plaid Cymru to follow her party's example.

If the SNP can win in Scotland, there is no reason - none at all - that Plaid Cymru can't also win in Wales. Not at some distant point in the future. But now, next May, at this election.

You can win. Believe it. Work for it. And you will do it. And when Wales does turn from Labour to a party with ambition, vision and determination, people will realise just how different things can be.

– Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Tonight Labour hit back on the issue where Plaid Cymru think the Welsh Government is most vulnerable -the running of the NHS. Labour claim that Plaid has no idea how much its proposed reorganisation of the health service will cost -or any rate won’t tell the people of Wales.

Advertisement

  1. Nick Powell

Sturgeon to rally Plaid troops for Assembly election

Leanne Wood recently addressed the SNP Conference for the second year running. This time, Nicola Sturgeon is returning the favour. Credit: PA

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has given herself two hard a acts to follow at Plaid Cymru's conference. By the time she gets to her feet this afternoon, delegates will have already heard from Mark Serwotka, the leader of the PCS union, who's from Aberdare.

But top of the bill is the nationalists' heroine, the First Minister of Scotland Nicolas Sturgeon. The SNP leader, who looks set to increase her government's majority in next year's Scottish election, is making the trip to Aberystwyth this year.

Exchanges of speakers between the two parties are routine enough but it's become noticeable that although Leanne Wood has been happy enough to trek north, the SNP have generally left it to one of their more minor figures to return the compliment.

It's a sign of the close friendship between the two women, cemented when they both took part in the UK election debates earlier in the year. The kudos that Nicola Sturgeon gives to the conference outweighs any fears that Leanne Wood will be upstaged at her own party conference. The view at the top of Plaid Cymru is that they're resigned to constant comparisons between themselves and the SNP, so they might as well make the most of it.

Sure enough, any doubt that the Plaid can double its number of AMs and displace Labour as the biggest party in the Assembly is answered by pointing to the SNP's breakthrough in 2007, when it overtook Labour in the Scottish Parliament. It formed a minority government and went on to secure an overall majority four years later.

Plaid Cymru has identified the Welsh NHS as the key issue on which it will take on Labour.

Our Welsh NHS is being failed by Labour. We have fewer doctors per head than most countries in Europe, with Scotland having almost 50% more GPs than we do.

New drugs and treatments are often not available to patients simply because of the area they live in. We have the longest waiting times in Britain for people to be given tests that are crucial in diagnosing cancer.

We have the longest waiting times in Britain for people to start treatment, sometimes even when that treatment is lifesaving surgery.

The NHS can no longer be trusted in Labour’s hands. It can be trusted in Plaid Cymru’s."

– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM

Plaid Cymru is promising to spend on the Welsh NHS all extra money that comes to Wales as a result of in creased health spending in England. The party has ambitious plans to train a thousand extra doctors, set up specialist diagnostic centres for people suspected of having cancer and set up a new fund to pay for new medicines and treatments.

"Wales insulted by feeble bill" claim Plaid

Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has claimed that the draft Wales Bill is a feeble response to call for more devolution and shows that the Welsh Government is "failing to force proper powers for Wales from Whitehall's clutches".

The draft Wales Bill as it stands is an insult to our country. It only implements a fraction of the issues already agreed by all parties years ago through the Silk Commission report. Effectively, the Bill as it stands, enshrines Wales’ status as a second class nation in the UK. Throughout this process, Plaid Cymru has sought consensus on issues that all parties have signalled agreement on previously. We’ve worked constructively and have been prepared to meet others half way in order to do so. Sadly, the UK Government is unwilling to facilitated that sort of outcome and the Labour Welsh Government have proven that they are not taken seriously at UK level.

– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM
  1. Nick Powell

Crunch meeting for Dafydd Elis Thomas

Dafydd Elis Thomas (right) applauds Leanne Wood after she beat him in the Plaid Cymru leadership contest in 2012 Credit: PA

The battle of wills between Plaid Cymru's former leader Dafydd Elis Thomas and the party's current leader Leanne Wood comes to a head tonight at a special meeting of senior Plaid officials and constituency members in Porthmadog.

Lord Elis Thomas' refusal to always toe the party line has led to friction since Leanne Wood became Plaid's leader in 2012. Relations were briefly patched up after he faced disciplinary action for missing a vote in the Senedd but matters have come to ahead since the Westminster election in May.

He publicly criticised the election campaign for prioritising parity with Scotland rather than focussing on specifically Welsh issues, criticism that those close to the Plaid leadership say would have been more appropriately made in private. Friends of the Dwyfor Meirionnydd AM say he's found the party hierarchy unwilling to listen to his concerns.

Plaid Cymru's executive meets on Saturday and has the power to cancel Dafydd Elis Thomas' selection as candidate for Dwyfor Meirionnydd in next year's Assembly election. It would be an extraordinary and potentially damaging step to take against a man who was first elected as MP for the old Merionethshire seat in 1974.

Tonight's meeting, where he is expected to put his case, will test whether he still has the support of his local party. If he has its backing, the members of the party executive would have to ask themselves if they could really risk a split with the activists in Plaid Cymru's safest seat.

  1. Nick Powell

Plaid leader promises drugs fund and an end to austerity -and Welsh income tax without a referendum first

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has called for the Welsh Government to get income tax powers without the need to hold a referendum first. She told her party's conference in Caernarfon that Plaid's agreement with the other parties that there should be a referendum was no longer valid because Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had all failed to back in full the recommendations of the Silk Commission on further devolution.

Leanne Wood said she expected Plaid's MPs to have the influence in a hung parliament to secure many of the party's demands. She said that they would start by insisting on an end to economic austerity.

Austerity is ideologically-motivated. It’s a policy with the aim of dismantling the state and social protection. It is not rooted in fiscal responsibility or economic sense. The experiment has failed. Plaid Cymru will end it.

In building post-austerity Wales, our country must have the tools to deliver not just a new constitutional framework, but to build a new society based on the aspirations of people in Wales.

In building post-austerity Wales, closing the resources gap between Wales and Scotland is crucial. The Barnett Formula has entrenched Wales’ disadvantage, every single year since its introduction in 1978.

An additional £1.2 billion for our public services and greater resources to strengthen our country’s economic prospects and end Wales’ fiscal dependency for once and for all.

We’ll take 70,000 Welsh businesses out of the rates system altogether and we’ll reduce the burden on thousands more. Plaid Cymru is ambitious for Welsh business and we know that we won’t realise our ambition of full employment in Wales without successful Welsh enterprises creating jobs and paying good wages.

– Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood AM

The Plaid leader also called for a ring-fenced fund for new drugs and treatments, not ordinarily on the NHS. Requests from Welsh patients would be approved or rejected by a national panel, with no variations between health boards The requirement that patients demonstrate ‘exceptionality’ in order to be successful would be abolished.

Load more updates