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  1. Nick Powell

Labour say Welsh Government's achievements will be "robust shield" for Assembly election campaign

First Minister Carwyn Jones will tell AMs later that his government is on course to deliver on the promises it made to the voters in the 2011 election campaign. In his final report on his programme for government before he faces the electorate again, he's expected to say that out of more than 500 commitments, more than 95% have been delivered -or are on track to be delivered in the next few months.

Credit: PA

Welsh Labour claim that this includes all the main pledges in the the 2011 manifesto, such as Jobs Growth Wales, extra money for schools, low tuition fees for Welsh students, and longer GP opening hours. One source called Labour's record in government in Wales "a robust statistical shield" against attacks from political opponents. Nevertheless, the Conservatives say they will challenge the Welsh Government on its record.

On health – on education – on the economy – the evidence is clear; Wales continues to fall behind and Labour ministers have no answers. Don’t take it from me – listen to the experts, the independent reports and the cold hard statistics.

Over 400 thousand people are waiting to start NHS treatment in Labour-run Wales. When Carwyn Jones became First Minister that figure was just 200 thousand. Global school test performance lags behind other parts of the UK and business support is nowhere near where it should be.

This is the real programme for government update and an urgent focus is desperately needed on our schools, our NHS services, our businesses and our communities.

– Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies AM


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
  1. Nick Powell

Selection as Cheshire MP would be "huge honour" says AM

North Wales Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach has confirmed that she's applied to be chosen as Tory candidate in the safe seat of Eddisbury in Cheshire.

It would be a huge honour to be chosen. North Wales and Cheshire are neighbours and we have always had close links.

– Antoinette Sandbach AM

Although she is still waiting to hear officially that she has been shortlisted, Antoinette Sandbach added that if she's selected she would donate her Assembly salary to charity until polling day on May 7. So it seems highly unlikely that she would remain an AM if elected an MP. But she was unwilling to speculate about what would happen after the voters of Eddisbury have chosen their MP.

  1. Nick Powell

Tory AM shortlisted for safe Westminster seat

A North Wales Conservative AM is one of three people shortlisted by Tories in a Cheshire constituency to be their new candidate for Westminster.

Antoinette Sandbach is in the running to be the next MP for Eddisbury, just over the border from Wrexham. The present MP, Sir Stephen O'Brien, has a majority of 13,255 and received more than half the votes cast in 2010. He's leaving the Commons to take up a senior post at the United Nations.

Antoinette Sandbach is looking to swap the Senedd for Westminster Credit: Welsh Conservatives

Antoinette Sandbach has been a regional list AM for North Wales since 2011. She stood for the Flintshire seat of Delyn at the last Westminster election and came within 3,000 votes of defeating its Labour MP, David Hanson. Today she refused to comment about her shortlisting in Eddisbury, where the candidate will be chosen next Wednesday, March 25.

Despite a recent change in the law, to stop AMs "double-jobbing" by sitting as MPs as well, Antoinette Sandbach would be allowed to hold both posts for up to a year. That would take her up to the next Assembly election but as a regional AM, she could stand down without causing a by-election. Her seat would be filled by the next person on the Conservatives' North Wales list, Janet Howarth, who's a Tory councillor in Llandudno.

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