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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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'Drink' complaint levelled against Conservative AM

The Presiding Officer has been asked to investigate claims that a Conservative Assembly Member had been drinking before he spoke in the Senedd chamber yesterday. A member of the public has accused Monmouthshire AM Nick Ramsay of making contributions that 'were slurred, incoherent and insolent.'

The Welsh Conservatives have not yet commented nor has Mr Ramsay. It's understood that it was his birthday yesterday but he's told colleagues that he had not been drinking. The Presiding Officer is due to make a response imminently.

  1. Adrian Masters

Welsh Tories welcome Scottish tax plans

The Welsh Conservative leader has welcomed his party's income tax proposals for Scotland, describing them as a 'game changer.' Andrew RT Davies says the announcement supported arguments that he and colleagues in the Assembly have been making about tax powers for Wales.

He wouldn't be drawn on whether or not the UK Government's income tax proposals for Wales should be changed as a consequence, saying that was a matter for MPs and Peers. But he said the Scottish plans were 'significant' and that he'd spoken to Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson about them.

The proposed income tax devolution set out in the Wales Bill has led to a row between Mr Davies and the Welsh Secretary David Jones and a split amongst Welsh Conservatives which led to four Assembly front benchers being sacked.

Reform, renegotiation and referendum on EU say Tories

The Welsh Conservatives have launched their European election manifesto. Their lead candidate, Kay Swinburne, said she's confident that the party can reform the EU, renegotiate its powers and then hold a referendum of Britain's membership.

We understand and share people's concerns about the European Union. Our businesses value the single market but they find the degree of interference in our everyday life excessive. Welsh Conservatives recognise that Wales benefits from its links with Europe as part of a strong United Kingdom. But we also know that people today feel the EU is heading a direction they never signed up to. Public support for Britain's membership is strained.

– Conservative MEP Kay Swinburne

Kay Swinburne said she supports the people's right to move freely between European countries, so long as it is to work rather than to claim welfare benefits. She added that workers from new countries joining the EU should be restricted for a longer period than was imposed on Bulgaria and Romania.

The Conservatives claim that David Cameron is achieving "real change" for the better in Europe, though the party also thinks that there is still a long way to go. The Welsh Secretary, David Jones, spoke of the EU's "increasingly top down socialist model".

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  1. Adrian Masters

Top Welsh Tories put differences aside for conference

David Jones and Andrew RT Davies with David Cameron in 2013 Credit: ITV News/Adrian Masters

The two most senior figures in the Welsh Conservatives will return to the matter which has so divided them in recent months and led to the sacking of four Tory frontbenchers. But they've put their differences aside, or at least won't be referring to them in public this weekend.

David Jones and Andrew RT Davies will both deliver speeches to the Welsh Conservative conference in Llangollen. They'll both criticise Labour's record of running public services here in Wales and they'll both highlight what their party is achieving for Wales through the UK Government.

They'll both also talk about the devolution of income tax power to Wales but you won't be able to spot much difference between them on the form of income tax power which is being devolved. No mention of the dreaded 'lockstep.'

It doesn't mean the differences have gone away though. It was pointed out to me that the Prime Minister's repeated references to Andrew RT Davies and his commitment to low taxes in Wales amounted to an implicit endorsement of his stance.

But if the differences remain, the heat has certainly been taken out of the dispute in public at least. Anyway, most of this weekend's speeches have concentrated on attacking Welsh Labour's running of public services in Wales.

That at least is something on which they can all agree.

Welsh Tory leader on Labour's 'war against ambition'

The Welsh Conservative leader will accuse Labour ministers in Cardiff of being 'in office but not in control.'

Andrew RT Davies is expected to pick up on Welsh Labour's claim that repeated criticism of its running of public services amounts to a 'war on Wales.' Mr Davies will say the Conservatives are fighting, but fighting against Labour.

Their management of the Welsh NHS as we heard from Jeremy Hunt and Darren Millar yesterday is scandalous. That’s why we’re fighting. For every single child failed of a decent education. For every patient left waiting in agony.For every single person who wants a successful business but can’t because of Labour’s regulations.

Labour has had 15 years at the helm. They might be in office, but they are not in control. Just look at their record: 1 in 7 on an NHS waiting list. The worst education results in Western Europe. A nationalised airport. When you listen to a record like that, you realise who is really at war. A war against ambition.

– Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Conservative leader
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