David Jones and Andrew RT Davies with the Prime Minister in April 2013

Taxing times for the Tories

Differences of opinion have resurfaced between Welsh Conservative Assembly Members and between their leader and the Welsh Secretary

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Tory blames 'selfish unions' and council incompetence

Conservative Assembly leader Andrew RT Davies has blamed incompetence by Cardiff's Labour council leaders for today's traffic gridlock in parts of the city after the public sector strike closed a major route.

He called it the 'selfish motives of a small cabal of trade union leaders'.

The Butetown Tunnels were closed for safety reasons after the workers who monitor CCTV cameras walked out.

The resulting traffic jam blocked the dual carriageway linking Cardiff Bay with the M4 motorway. Other roads became clogged as drivers sought alternative routes.

We have known about these strikes for some time and yet the council were unable to make arrangements to prevent the capital’s roads descending into chaos once again. The knock-on effect of the closure of the Butetown Tunnels has been enormous. Commuters from all walks of life and all professions have been hit by the ensuing gridlock, along with businesses across the city. It is difficult to find an explanation other than incompetence as to why a contingency plan was not put in place.

People are perfectly entitled to withdraw their labour, but trade unions need to think long and hard about the impact that these strikes have on people’s everyday lives. Many families have also been forced to take annual leave because their children’s schools are on strike, and some households will miss their fortnightly rubbish collections. Once again, hardworking families face mayhem as the result of the selfish motives of a cabal of trade union leaders.

– Leader of the Opposition Andrew RT Davies AM

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Conservative call for anti-extremism summit

Opposition Leader Andrew RT has used an Urgent Question in the Assembly to call for a summit of Welsh ministers and Muslim community leaders to try to find ways of tackling extremism. It follows revelations that two Cardiff men appeared in an Iraqi Islamist recruitment video.

Deputy Communities minister, Jeff Cuthbert, said he couldn't commit to holding a summit but said he would consider one as part of ongoing efforts to work with communities.

Welsh Conservatives call for anti-extremism 'summit'

During an urgent question in the Assembly, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has called for Welsh ministers to hold a 'summit' with Muslim community leaders in Wales to try to work out ways of dealing with extremism.

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.@andrewrtdavies calls for the Welsh Government to meet with the communities involved to discuss radicalisation in parts of Wales.

Deputy Communities minister Jeff Cuthbert said that he couldn't commit to a summit immediately but said the Welsh Government would consider such a meeting as part of moves to work with communities to combat extremism.

Inquiry finds 'no grounds' for action over 'drunk' claims

No further action will be taken against a Conservative AM accused of being drunk druing a Senedd debate. Assembly chiefs say there were 'not grounds' to have prevented Nick Ramsay from taking part in that debate.

The inquiry began after a member of the public complained about Monmouthshire AM Nick Ramsay made contributions that were 'slurred, incoherent and insolent.' For further details click here.

But a spokesperson for the Presiding Officer has issued this statement:

The Presiding Officers have looked into the circumstances thoroughly and have reached their conclusions. They confirmed that there were not grounds to call the Member to order during the plenary session on 10 June. They will not be making any further statement about the matter.

– Assembly spokesperson

'Cosy club' will protect itself says man who alleged AM was drunk

The person who complained to the Presiding Officer about Nick Ramsay's conduct in the Senedd yesterday says he has no faith that anything will come of it. He's identified himself as Jonathan G Williams, of Whitchurch in Cardiff.

Why I made this complaint ... was a matter of principle. I would say that the response of the Welsh Assembly has been exactly as I expected. No one will take this matter seriously because politics is a cosy club. All they are interested in is protecting their collective reputations. It's mucky and makes me wonder why I bothered writing in the first place.

– Jonathan Williams

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Welsh Tories face tax split troubles again

by Adrian Masters

There could be further embarrassment for the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd chamber this afternoon. The group had agreed to abstain on a Plaid Cymru amendment opposing UK Government plans for income tax devolution.

Click here for more details and here for further background on the difficulties this issue has caused the party. But I understand some of the still-disgruntled of four AMs (or five depending on who you include!) could vote against the amendment.

To the outside world it may seem a minute distinction but with an already tense atmosphere within the group it could once again make its split painfully public on an occasion when both Welsh Secretary David Jones and Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies will be in the Senedd chamber at the same time.

Nick Ramsay will co-operate with 'drink' inquiry

Conservative Assembly Member Nick Ramsay won't make any comment following the announcement that the Presiding Officer will investigate a complaint that he was drunk when he spoke during a debate in the Senedd chamber.

But a Welsh Conservatives spokesperson said the complaint is being treated seriously and the AM for Monmouth will co-operate with the Presiding Officer's inquiry.

Nick Ramsay was making valid contributions in an important debate on mental health. He agrees that all correspondence from the public should be treated with the utmost importance and will speak to the Presiding Officer accordingly.

– Welsh Conservative spokesperson

Presiding Officer to investigate 'drink' complaint

A spokesperson for the Assembly Commission has confirmed that the Presiding Officer will look into a complaint about the conduct of Conservative Assembly Member Nick Ramsay.

The Presiding Officer has received a letter of complaint relating to the behaviour of an individual Assembly Member in the Plenary session on 10 June.

Regulation of Plenary proceedings is a matter for the Presiding Officers. They will be looking into the circumstances thoroughly and properly over the coming days.

The rules of debate are governed by Standing Order 13 and the Assembly Members’ Code of Conduct sets out the standard of behaviour expected from Members during Assembly business. Members must at all times in their conduct promote respect for the Assembly and extend respect and courtesy to other Members.

– Assembly spokesperson

Nick Ramsay's Senedd speech at heart of 'drink' claims

This is the exchange in the Senedd yesterday, when Nick Ramsay is alleged to have been drinking before speaking.

The intervention by the Monmouth AM in the Assembly debate on mental health was heard in near silence in the Senedd. Health Minister Mark Drakeford, expressed disappointment at what the Tory AM was saying.

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