1. Wales

Freedom of speech row

The Welsh Government has been strongly criticised by a UK minister for not following his lead in taking action to protect the right to report, film and tweet local council meetings.

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Claims dismissed as "nonsense at taxpayers' expense"

A Welsh Government source has claimed that a UK cabinet minster is talking "utter nonsense" about the suppression of freedom of speech in Wales. Eric Pickles made the claim because Wales has not followed his policy on openness in local government.

What Eric Pickles is saying about Wales is utter nonsense and completely untrue. What happens in Wales is of no concern to him whatsoever. He is developing an unhealthy obsession with Wales that raises many questions - not least because he is acting like an outrider for the Secretary of State for Wales.

The fact is, there is no way any UK Government Minister would talk about Scotland in such patronising terms. Yet, when it comes to Wales, Eric Pickles sees fit to interfere in areas that do not concern him. We take very seriously indeed that fact that Eric Pickles is now conducting an overtly political campaign at taxpayers' expense and we will be taking this matter further.

– Welsh Government source

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