Live updates

  1. Nick Powell

Plaid "unfit for government" say Labour

Labour have accused Plaid Cymru of bringing the Assembly into disrepute, following the defeat of the Public Health Bill.

The decision from Plaid today smacks of a party unfit for Government. The only thing that has changed since last week's Stage 3 vote on the Public Health Bill is a single off-the-cuff remark in a jokey final plenary session. To vote down an important Bill on this basis alone simply brings the entire institution into disrepute. People in Wales have just lost a series of important new health measures, which had been worked upon for years. We could have broken the pairing agreement to get this through, but that is not the way we do business. Elin Jones has clearly been put in an impossible position by her group and that is deeply regrettable as she has done so much to shape the final proposals.

– Welsh Labour source

The Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, said he was "deeply disappointed" and predicted "widespread anger" at the bill's defeat. He said five years of careful preparation had been wasted.

[The Public Health Bill] would have introduced important new measures to improve the provision of pharmacy services across Wales and the provision of public toilets for young and old. It would have introduced a ban on intimate piercing for children under 16 and new outdoor smoke-free places in hospital grounds, children's playgrounds and schools.

– Health Minister Mark Drakford AM

Mr Drakeford also defended the controversial attempt to restrict the use of e-cigarettes, which are seen by many AMs as a way of helping people to stop smoking. He said he'd wanted to "protect a generation who have grown up in a smoke-free environment from re-normalising smoking".

Advertisement

  1. Nick Powell

Labour-Plaid deal delays council shake-up

Labour and Plaid Cymru have reached a deal that will see the Welsh Government's local government bill become law. The Public Service Minister, Leighton Andrews, has agreed with his Plaid Cymru shadow, Simon Thomas, that there will be no move to force councils to mereg until after next year's Assembly election.

Plaid Cymru has stopped Labour from enforcing their map for local government reorganisation through the back door before plans are put to people. Large scale changes to Local Government structures should not be decided by politicians with no mandate but should be decided by people in an election.

The demands made by Plaid Cymru will mean that all parties can present their individual proposals in their manifestos and seek a mandate to implement them, without being bound by the current government’s preferences.

– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM

I’d like to thank Simon Thomas and his Plaid Cymru colleagues for the constructive approach they’ve taken on this matter. It is clear that status quo is not an option for local government, and an important part of the framework can now be put in place for much needed reform. It is now down to each political party to set our their proposals in the coming election.

– Public Services Bill Leighton Andrews AM

The other opposition parties have poured scorn on the deal, accusing Plaid Cymru of selling out to Labour.

Plaid’s leader has happily cosied up and done a deal with them. We should’ve expected nothing less than this astonishing hypocrisy. You’d be hard pushed to make it up.

Thanks to Plaid and Labour, local people won’t get a say on the future of our councils. Thanks to them, councils could now be forced to merge.

Vote Plaid – Get Labour. It’s that simple - and this disregard for Welsh communities is concrete evidence.

– Shadow Local Government Minister, Janet Finch-Saunders AM

Plaid have sold out, but received absolutely nothing in return. It’s bizarre. Their embarrassing u-turn is based on smoke and mirrors. They have achieved literally nothing. There is no commitment for a fair voting system and it was always the case that mergers were not going to happen before the Assembly election.

– Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Peter Black AM

Advertisement

Cynon Valley Labour candidate quits

Credit: Labour Party

The Labour candidate due to contest one of the party's safest seats in next year's Assembly election has announced that he's quitting "for personal reasons". Local councillor Rhys Lewis had been picked to fight Cynon Valley after Christine Chapman announced that she was standing down as the constituency's AM.

I remain a loyal member of the Cynon Valley Constituency Labour Party and I will stand resolutely behind whoever is chosen as the Cynon Valley Labour Party National Assembly Candidate. I will offer them my full support and assist them in any way that I can.

– Cllr Rhys Lewis
  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
Load more updates