Four Welsh Assembly Members Expected to Defect to Brexit Party Tomorrow

Guido understands that four Welsh Assembly members will be defecting to the Brexit Party tomorrow at a rally in Merthyr Tydfil, following Mark Reckless’ announcement that he has left the Conservative Group in the Assembly today. Three independents; Caroline Jones, Mandy Jones, and Mark Reckless are expected to join the Brexit Party along with UKIP AM David Rowlands. All four were originally elected as UKIP Assembly Members before the referendum. Brexit Party sources are playing down the story for now…

The defection of David Rowlands (one of the only three AMs to still sit as UKIP after seven were elected in 2016) means that the number of UKIP members in the Assembly will drop to just two, Neil Hamilton and Gareth Bennett. That takes them below the threshold to form an official group and receive resources from the assembly. Whokip?

Welsh SpAds Cost Taxpayer More Than £700,000

The Labour government in Wales employed a total of 13 special advisers in the last year; that compares to around 70 in Westminster. You’d think the relatively low number would equate to savings for the taxpayer. Not so fast. The Welsh government chose the dead of summer recess to sheepishly slip out this admission:

“The paybill cost for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 totalled £592,616. This includes salary, employers’ national insurance contributions and pension contributions.  Severance payments of £127,661 were also made which were related to the election in May 2016 and the First Minister’s appointment of a new Cabinet.”

That makes a grand total of £720,277 over the year for just 13 staff, meaning your average Welsh SpAd is on more than £60,000 pa, a lot of money in Wales. They’re not spending your cash Caerphilly

Victoria’s Secret Lingerie and 5 Star Hotels: Welsh Govt’s £7.5 Million Credit Card Spend

VICTORIAS SECRET

The Welsh government spent £7,508,490.17 of taxpayers’ money on credit card transactions over the last Assembly, including purchases from lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, iTunes subscriptions, Yachtwear, and items from IKEA, as well as stays in luxury five star hotels. A Freedom of Information response reveals that in total, ministers and civil servants spent an average of £1.5 million a year, with an average spend of £5,893.50 per card last year alone – more than double the UK average.

Expenses cleared on the cards included:

  • £103.91 at Victoria’s Secret, whose website describes the brand as having “The world’s best bras. The sexiest lingerie. The most beautiful Supermodels.”
  • £377.31 on iTunes subscriptions.
  • £370.70 on Yachtwear from high-end provider Yachtshop.
  • £2191.43 at IKEA, and a further £279.90 at Toys R Us.

Luxury hotel trips were also thrown in, including £1,450.76 on the £313 per night (cheapest room) on the five star Hotel New Otani, and £9043.79 on the five star Raffles, Beijing. They even totted up 842.99 on a jolly in Cannes which included bills for the four star Hotel Belle Plage and the prestigious beachfront restaurant Plage le Goeland. Most amusing of all is the officials’ £1569.10 expenditure on Welsh Cakes, including a single spend of £808.35. Living it up while the Welsh NHS collapses. They’ve literally had their cake and eaten it…

Bryant’s UKIP Bashing Comes Back to Bite Him

twitter fury ukip labour

Welsh Labour MPs stuck the knife into Plaid’s Leanne Wood last night after she relied on UKIP votes to challenge Carwyn Jones for First Minister. Chris Bryant led the attack, arguing Labour shouldn’t form a government if they relied on UKIP to win:

“I’d only be interested in forming a progressive government. If I’d to rely on Tories/UKIP to win, I’d say no thanks”

Owen Smith and Nia Griffiths piled in too. Which makes the news that UKIP Assembly Members Nathan Gill and Mark Reckless are considering backing Jones for FM very awkward indeed. Those two UKIP votes could keep Labour’s FM in his job and defeat the Plaid insurgency. Yet Labour MPs have publicly said they don’t want UKIP votes. Bryant has suddenly gone very uncharacteristically quiet…

Leanne Wood and Carwyn Jones Tied in Welsh First Minister Vote

It’s all kicking off in Wales. The Tories and UKIP have backed Plaid’s Leanne Wood for First Minister, meaning the Assembly vote is tied 29-29 between her and Carwun Jones. The presiding officer is overheard asking “What do I do now?” Could the election be re-run?

Welsh Nationalist Candidate Lives in England

Meet Boydd Hackley-Green who is the Welsh nationalist candidate in Torfaen. Who lives in England…

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