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  1. ITV Report

Welsh Government takes unprecedented legal action against the Assembly

AMs are due to debate a Welsh Conservative motion calling for the publication of the reshuffle leak inquiry.

The Welsh Government has threatened legal action to stop a debate trying to force the publication of a report into leaks about a reshuffle before the death of Carl Sargeant.

Assembly Members are due to take part in the debate, which has been tabled by the Welsh Conservatives and calls for the report to be published, on Wednesday.

News of the legal action emerged during Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies's regular press conference. He said a legal letter had been served on the Llywydd - Elin Jones - in a bid to stop the debate scheduled for tomorrow's plenary session.

The Llywydd has responded to the First Minister saying that she has taken advice and is not persuaded by his argument and so the debate will go ahead tomorrow as planned.

Andrew RT Davies raised the matter in First Minister's Questions this afternoon, claiming Carwyn Jones is trying to silence the Assembly.

During this afternoon's First Minister's Questions, Mr Davies claimed Carwyn Jones was trying to silence the Assembly.

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Carwyn Jones says clarity is needed over what documents a government can be required to release.

The First Minister said he doesn't want the Conservative motion to be withdrawn, but called for clarity over what government documents can be shared.

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Andrew RT Davies said the Welsh Government was trying to throw its weight around. Credit: ITV Wales/Adrian Masters

The Welsh Conservatives have been calling for the Welsh Government to publish details of a leak investigation covering events leading up to the death of former cabinet minister Carl Sargeant in November - who was removed from his role as cabinet secretary four days before.

The inquiry found that there had been no unauthorised leaks of Mr Sargeant's sacking before it happened.

Mr Davies said that the party is not seeking to 'out' anyone who has given evidence in the inquiry, but it about 'getting to the bottom of the reshuffle process.' He added that the Welsh Government was trying to throw its weight around to stop the debate.

There is a bloke who lost his life here and it is important that we get the answers, not just for the family of Carl Sargeant, but to ensure that this never happens again.

– Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Conservatives leader
Carl Sargeant died in November, just days after losing his cabinet position in a reshuffle.

The Welsh Government confirmed that legal action was being taken.

This is much bigger than any single debate. The way section 37 is being interpreted by the Presiding Officer puts Welsh Government in the perverse position where we could be compelled to publish information without regard for any other laws or rights. We believe this is unlawful and given the significance of the issues surrounding section 37 we will seek proper determination by the courts.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

The spokesperson added that the Welsh Government has offered a compromise suggesting a 'sensible way forward' to the Assembly Commission and they are awaiting a response.

Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Sayed said the action showed the disdain the Welsh Government has for scrutiny.

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