Friday, August 20, 1999 Published at 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Assembly accused of hypocrisy over Welsh
Tory David Davies is one of two AMs taking a Welsh class
Assembly members have been accused of hypocrisy for backing the compulsory teaching of Welsh in schools while ignoring a chance to learn the language.
While their colleagues are on the long summer break, Lib Dem leader Mike German and the Tories' David Davies are back in the classroom.
Mr Davies is a surprise learner as he has fought for the scrapping of the compulsory teaching of Welsh up to the age of 16 since his election.
"They have said that they expect people in schools to learn Welsh up to the age of 16," he said.
"I think that it's slightly hypocritical not to bother showing up for a free course laid on for their benefit."
Sian Howys, chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society, said it was worrying that politicians were not taking advantage of the opportunity.
"There are a vast number of adults in Wales who are learning Welsh and it would be an encouragement for them - and a good example - if more AMs take up this opportunity."
They are the only two to enrol so far, although an Assembly spokesman said 20 of the 60 AMs already spoke Welsh and a further 20 have expressed an interest.
Tom Middlehurst, the Assembly Secretary responsible for the language, is having private lessons, and other AMs are understood to have arranged their own tuition.
The poor attendance has also been blamed on the short notice AMs received about the course.