Live updates

  1. Nick Powell

Selection as Cheshire MP would be "huge honour" says AM

North Wales Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach has confirmed that she's applied to be chosen as Tory candidate in the safe seat of Eddisbury in Cheshire.

It would be a huge honour to be chosen. North Wales and Cheshire are neighbours and we have always had close links.

– Antoinette Sandbach AM

Although she is still waiting to hear officially that she has been shortlisted, Antoinette Sandbach added that if she's selected she would donate her Assembly salary to charity until polling day on May 7. So it seems highly unlikely that she would remain an AM if elected an MP. But she was unwilling to speculate about what would happen after the voters of Eddisbury have chosen their MP.

  1. Nick Powell

Tory AM shortlisted for safe Westminster seat

A North Wales Conservative AM is one of three people shortlisted by Tories in a Cheshire constituency to be their new candidate for Westminster.

Antoinette Sandbach is in the running to be the next MP for Eddisbury, just over the border from Wrexham. The present MP, Sir Stephen O'Brien, has a majority of 13,255 and received more than half the votes cast in 2010. He's leaving the Commons to take up a senior post at the United Nations.

Antoinette Sandbach is looking to swap the Senedd for Westminster Credit: Welsh Conservatives

Antoinette Sandbach has been a regional list AM for North Wales since 2011. She stood for the Flintshire seat of Delyn at the last Westminster election and came within 3,000 votes of defeating its Labour MP, David Hanson. Today she refused to comment about her shortlisting in Eddisbury, where the candidate will be chosen next Wednesday, March 25.

Despite a recent change in the law, to stop AMs "double-jobbing" by sitting as MPs as well, Antoinette Sandbach would be allowed to hold both posts for up to a year. That would take her up to the next Assembly election but as a regional AM, she could stand down without causing a by-election. Her seat would be filled by the next person on the Conservatives' North Wales list, Janet Howarth, who's a Tory councillor in Llandudno.


Conservative AM calls for carer's allowance instead of a pay rise

A Conservative AM says the independent pay review board should focus on making it easier for people caring for children and older people to become AMs.

There's been a strong backlash after it was revealed that the board has recommended an increase amounting to nearly £10,000.

Antoinette Sandbach says she can't support the increase but says there must be financial support to bring down barriers that prevent single parents and other carers from standing for election.

  1. Adrian Masters - Political Editor

First Minister considering minister inquiry report

I understand the report into allegations against a Welsh cabinet minster is being considered by the First Minister. The First Minister asked the Permanent Secretary to investigate allegations that Alun Davies breached the ministerial code. Read more details here.

A Welsh Government spokesperson says Carwyn Jones will make his position clear 'in due course' but won't say when that will be. The Welsh Conservatives say a statement is 'overdue.' Tory AM Antoinette Sandbach, who wrote urging an investigation, has tabled an urgent question to the First Minister.

She said:

These are extremely serious concerns and answers are now overdue.

The ministerial code is very clear and the minister’s actions are extremely disturbing.

If a Labour Minister has used his position to secure an advantage in his own constituency – strong action must be taken by the First Minister.

Given the millions in public money that is tied up within the Circuit of Wales project, the results of this investigation should be published urgently.

“his is clearly in the public interest – and delaying publication is unacceptable.

– Antoinette Sandbach AM, Conservative

Opposition welcomes 'common sense' dog law decision

Shadow Rural Affairs minister Antoinette Sandbach has welcomed the Welsh Government's decision to halt work on its Control of Dogs bill.

This common-sense decision that the Welsh Government is not going to plough its own furrow and will co-operate with the UK Government is a breath of fresh air.

This is a sensible decision given that the UK Government is already developing its own proposals which could include provisions to allow for the control of dangerous dogs.

This move also frees up capacity in the Assembly to scrutinise other worthy legislation.

This is a welcome decision, which can achieve the aim of ensuring the public and other animals are protected from the threat of a minority of dangerous dogs.

– Antoinette Sandbach AM, Shadow Rural Affairs minister


Farm aid is 'very little, very late' say Tories

The Welsh Conservatives have welcomed what they say is a 'very late u-turn' on financial aid from the Welsh Government on financial aid for farmers badly hit by last month's snow. The Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies has announced that £500,000 will be channelled through farming charities.

Additional financial assistance is extremely welcome – but very little and very late. Farmers currently battling for their livelihoods may gratefully receive this assistance – but will rightly question why it is has taken this long for the minister to change his mind. For many, much of Easter was spent digging frozen carcasses from the snow –with absolutely no support.

– Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs Antoinette Sandbach AM

The announcement came after the Assembly's Presiding Officer ruled that the minister should answer an emergency question on the issue from the Mongomeryshire AM, Russell George.

To call this a belated turnaround would be extremely generous. Over the last few weeks I have spoken to countless farmers desperately struggling with fallen stock, infrastructure damage, and financial uncertainty. Today’s additional support will be welcomed –but pales into insignificance when compared to support offered in other parts of the UK.”

– Shadow Minister for the Environment Russell George AM

Scientist resigns over Badger Cull U-turn

The Farmers' Union of Wales claims that the resignation of a scientist from the Welsh Government’s bovine TB eradication programme highlights what it calls the 'flawed nature' of the u-turn on holding a badger cull. Prof Chris Pollock is an expert in biological, environmental and rural sciences.

Vaccination is effectively untried so you are exchanging an approach which has a track record of success in Ireland and elsewhere with one not really tried at all.

– Prof Chris Pollock

Environment Minister John Griffiths halted a cull in Pembrokeshire and ordered vaccination instead. He's accepted the professor's resignation with regret. The shadow minister, Antoinette Sandbach, says it's damning for the minister to lose the confidence of one of his scientific advisors.