Wales politics

Claims Tory AM was 'drunk' in chamber are investigated

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe Welsh Conservatives said Mr Ramsay was "making valid contributions in an important debate

The presiding officer is to investigate the behaviour of an AM who was slurring his words during an assembly debate.

A constituent of Cardiff North AM and former MP Julie Morgan contacted her claiming Nick Ramsay appeared to be drunk in a debate on Tuesday.

The complainant said Mr Ramsey's contributions were "slurred" and "incoherent" but he denies being drunk.

Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler said the circumstances would be looked at "thoroughly and properly".

A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said Monmouth AM Mr Ramsay was "making valid contributions in an important debate on mental health."

"He agrees that all correspondence from the public should be treated with the utmost importance - and will speak to the presiding officer accordingly," the spokesman added.

Mr Ramsay has told BBC Wales he was not drunk during the debate.

In a statement, Dame Rosemary's office said: "The presiding officer has received a letter of complaint relating to the behaviour of an individual assembly member in the plenary session on 10 June.

"Regulation of plenary proceedings is a matter for the presiding officers.

"They will be looking into the circumstances thoroughly and properly over the coming days.

"The rules of debate are governed by Standing Order 13 and the assembly members' Code of Conduct sets out the standard of behaviour expected from members during assembly business.

"Members must at all times in their conduct promote respect for the assembly and extend respect and courtesy to other members."

'Banter'

The Code of Conduct also states: "Assembly Members should at all times conduct themselves in a manner which will tend to maintain and strengthen the public's trust and confidence in the integrity of the assembly and refrain from any action which would bring the assembly, or its members generally, into disrepute."

A Plaid Cymru spokeswoman said: "Any complaint by a member of the public about the conduct of assembly members should be taken seriously, and we expect the presiding officer to investigate this matter fully."

Three years ago, Conservative Monmouth AM Mr Ramsay apologised after being barred from a pub following a charity quiz.

His behaviour was criticised by the Conservative-supporting landlord of the Nags Head in Usk, Monmouthshire, who said Mr Ramsay was rude to the quizmaster.

Mr Ramsay said he had only engaged in "banter" but apologised for any offence caused.

'Taken ill'

In November 2012 he failed to turn up on time to chair an assembly committee for the second time in five months.

The AM was an hour late for a meeting of the business and enterprise committee and did not inform the committee of his late arrival beforehand.

Mr Ramsay also missed a committee meeting in July that year.

A party spokesman said then he had been taken ill the night before.

Mr Ramsay lost out to Andrew RT Davies when he ran for the leadership of the Conservatives in the assembly in 2011.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites