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Kirsty Williams says First Minister shows 'contempt for democracy'

The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats,Kirsty Williams, claims she's been forced to submit a Freedom of Information request on Trident, after the First Minister repeatedly refused to answer questions put to him publicly in the chamber and in written form on the issue of nuclear subs in Wales.

The questions follow from the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, saying last month that he would welcome nuclear submarines to Milford Haven if they were ever to leave their current base at Faslane in Scotland.

Leaders put aside differences for Welsh Cavalry fight

The leaders of the Welsh Conservatives and Welsh Liberal Democrats have put aside political differences to express their support for the campaign to save the Welsh Cavalry, also known as 1st the Queen's Dragoon Guards.

The two leaders met regimental representatives and pledged to lobby UK Government colleagues. Andrew RT Davies, who heads the Welsh Conservative group in the Assembly, said:

It is vital that we maintain the momentum that has been established in this battle to save Wales’ only tank regiment. We will continue to passionately lobby our Westminster counterparts on behalf of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards.

And Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said:

Any disbandment or amalgamation of this fine regiment would be severely damaging to the Armed Forces in Wales. Of course we understand that cuts to the defence budget have to be made, but the cuts need to be balanced regionally rather than being focused on Wales as a whole.

'Unacceptable' maternity services must be improved - Lib Dems

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Welsh Government to provide 'strong, strategic leadership' to force health boards to improve maternity and neonatal services across Wales. The call follows a letter from the Auditor General for Wales saying that maternity services 'varied unacceptably.'

Leader of the Welsh Lib Dems, Kirsty Williams said,

Patients are not receiving acceptable treatment which is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Welsh Government to look into this as a matter of urgency.

It is the responsibility of the Welsh Government to hold Local Health Baords to account but at the moment any sort of meaningful mechanism to do this is seriously lacking. The Welsh Government's latest strategy ... is a welcome first step, but it doesn't clarify how the Government will either help or monitor health boards to make sure they meet targets.

Kirsty Williams will lead a debate on maternity services in the Assembly tomorrow (Wednesday.)


Welsh Tories and Lib Dems welcome regional pay u-turn

The leaders of both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Wales say they're encouraged by signs that the UK Government is backing away from plans to introduce different wage rates for public sector workers in different parts of the UK. Andrew RT Davies, who leads the Assembly Tories said,

We have robustly fought the position on regional or local pay and put that position very forthrightly (at meetings with ministerial colleagues). We await the final decision but I would be hopeful that the final outcome would be beneficial to Wales.

Meanwhile the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams said,

We've always been of the view it should not go ahead; that's been our clear and consistent message to the UK Government. We've taken every opportunity to put that message to (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) Danny Alexander and the Deputy Prime Minister.

Asked if she'd raised the matter with Nick Clegg on his visit last week, she said yes, adding that she always raises it with him.

'A very bad night for any party that doesn't have Labour in its title' - Kirsty Williams

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has been responding to her party's losses in the local elections:

This was a very bad night for any party that doesn’t have Labour in its title. Labour did very well, not just against us but also against Plaid, the Conservatives and the Independents.

That must be because Labour were able to bounce back from their very poor result in 2008 whilst Welsh Liberal Democrats were defending seats won in our best ever performance four years ago.

But clearly this wasn’t a good night for us and I wouldn’t want to pretend otherwise.

What is clear is that when Labour asked voters to use the local elections as a way of sending a message to the UK government, that opportunity was taken. I think that is deeply disappointing for local politics, but in a democracy, you can’t argue with the verdict of the electorate.

We have lost some great community champions and some civic leaders of exceptional quality.

Over the past decade, Welsh Liberal Democrats have made a real difference in positions of leadership in places like Wrexham, Newport, Swansea and Cardiff and I don’t think anyone is seriously arguing that the results we have seen are a verdict on their record in those places.

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